Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of The Measure by Nikki Erlick

Here’s my edited Goodreads review: “Eight ordinary people, one extraordinary choice” If you could know exactly when you’d die would you want to know? Whether you know or not, how do you measure what’s considered a good life? How do you choose how to spend your time? Glad the choice is conceptual only. Moral lessons throughout. Several points to ponder. I recommend you read this book which full of social commentary without be preachy.

I borrowed the hardback from the library which means I captured a few good quotes for my common place book:

  • … the truth began to leak through cracks in the laboratory walls, creating small puddles of knowledge that eventually grew into pools.
  • … this was the first time the world outside of her books had ever revealed the stories with its very own plot twist.
  • She doesn’t need to spend time on fantasies anymore because she’s already living in one.
  • … and even though I’ve joined a group where I’m encouraged to speak these thoughts aloud, it feels easier, somehow, to write it all down.
  • If forever doesn’t exist, she said, we’ll invent it ourselves.
  • … everything that needed to be said was said in the silence, in their touch.
  • We humans have an impulse to mark our existence in some way that feels permanent.

As always more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of When Evil Chooses You by Dan Antion

My review from Goodreads: A suspenseful page turner. All’s well that ends well. Fast paced suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat. Part 3 of the trilogy was as entertaining as the first two. No spoilers here just two thumbs up & a recommendation to read this book!

I’ve been reading for fun lately, pure D as in delightful fiction. When words paint pictures, they take me away to another place. Reading is my therapy. I NEED a lot of therapy y’all. LOL. Ok, keeping this short & sweet though if anyone has read this book or the other two in the Dreamer’s Alliance Series & would like to chat about it, drop me a comment por favor.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan

I am not going to spoil this story with a review. Two thumbs up, recommended read. I will say the research is well done. I always learn something new reading Jodi. Also the seamlessness of the writing was flawless. I couldn’t tell where Jodi started & Jennifer ended or vice versa. Usually when two authors write something together, who wrote which part is evident.

Now I give you my commonplace quotes. These are very fitting & timely to my current situation. I love when that happens. Validation!!!!!

Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.

Soren Kirkegaard

These people, who do not really see me, have no idea what they are missing.

And even though I knew better than to hope, it felt like a pilot light inside me.

asphyxiated by joy

In the absence of knowledge, the mind is an amazing Tilt-A-Whirl of worst case scenarios.

Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan

As always more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of Fairy Tale by Stephen King

I enjoyed this book & was surprised by some of the negative reviews but I get we all have different tastes. This wasn’t typical King horror but rather fantasy. The first part of the book was really endearing to me. A tale of 17 year old Charlie Reade & his caretaking of the curmudgeon neighbor Mr. Bowditch. Add inthe family dynamics between Charlie & his dad who turns out to be a good guy who got his life back on track after losing his wife in a terrible accident. And of course Radar, the german shepherd. SHE was a fantastic part of the story. I would have done the same as Charlie, go to the limits for a pet I loved.

The second part of the story is in another world, entered through a shed out back. The trek to and from, with a hunger game element in between, kept me interested. Each chapter was a story of its’ own, in a way, linked together nicely. There were drawings too, I love that! Like a picture book, for adults, more words & a few graphics ❤ . And without any spoilers, we got our happy ending. YaY!

On my WordPress page, desktop view, scroll to bottom right where I link to Goodreads. I wrote more here than there this time. I have two books in the hopper for 2023 with a burgeoning TBR queue. I said no more paper for a bit, but then my holds came in from the San Antonio Public library, Schaefer branch. Next I’ll read the hardback book of Mad Honey: A Novel by Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan, then my Kindle time will commence. Specifically, When Evil Chooses You by Dan Antion and The Last Drive by John W Howell. So many books, so little time. I can’t wait!

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of The Candy House by Jennifer Egan ~ 1/13/23

Uh oh for all you superstitious types, Friday the 13th is upon us. Let’s combat the bad juju with a good old fashioned book review. Scroll to the end of J-Dub’s Grin & Bear It (if on desktop) to see the link up to my Goodreads review for more details. Not sure what is the view on the WP app. You know what, just in case, here is a copy paste …

We find out why the book is titled The Candy House over half way through. Like Hansel & Gretel. Very fitting for this cautionary tale with a watch what you wish for theme. Nothing is ever as it seems. A moral take on society without being preachy. Multiple stories within the story where people are connected sometimes briefly & other times for life. I want to be like Alfred thinking up “projects” and screaming in public. Absurd but understandable. At least to me.

I highly recommend this book because it was pure escapism. At the time, I was desperate to leave my troubles behind. Don’t you just love when a good story can do that. Linda G Hill wrote about her constellation of characters for #JusJoJan & I replied The best characters from books are the ones that help us sort out our own stuff. I collect more every time I read! I like thinking of this rag tag band in my brain as a constellation.

From The Candy House, that character was Alfred. I swear I’m going to scream in public just to see what happens. I’m not really going to scream in public, maybe in my car with the windows rolled up but dang it I want to scream Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! Okay now that I got that out of my system, here are some commonplace book quotes.

  • Pouring over a volume with carnal transport as if it were a tub of ice cream.
  • If my life has taught me anything, it’s that curiosity & expediency have a sneaky inexorable power.
  • People don’t have to smile to be happy – sometimes they smile to hide unhappiness.
  • Experience leaves a mark, regardless of the reasons & principles behind it.
  • The world is cruel & irrational, the strong thrive at the expense of the weak, and happy endings are purely a matter of framing.
Jennifer Egan in The Candy House

See what I mean?!? That first bullet though, definitely how I read. LOL. Good stuff, words painting pictures & all that jazz.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club ~ 1/6/23

I read four books in six-ish days recently. I should check Goodreads for specific time but I’m too lazy. This is stream book club. Haha. I’m simply listing the titles, authors & one quote from my common place book. Reviews are on Goodreads, check them out there if interested.

  • Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume. Obviously a re-read. Took me back & I really enjoyed the trip down memory lane. No idea why this book is on the banned list. I didn’t write a quote either. Too bad.
  • She’s Nice Enough Though Essays on Being Bad at Being Good by Mia Mercedes. “Jesus, Mary, & Joseph” may sound religious but it’s as close to an expletive as your grandma will ever say.
  • Dirty Daddy The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian by Bob Saget. Stamos was like, “Fuck that dog! How’d he get a movie & not us? A year later, the dog was dead.
  • The Match by Harlan Coben. This was a 2nd book but I really don’t think I missed out by reading out of order. I will get to Book # 1 eventually because I like Harlan’s style & some of the characters are in both. I’m doing what I always do, using book characters to fix my life. “The ugliest truth is better than the prettiest lie.”

And that’s all she wrote, until next time.

As always, more to come.

Friday Storytelling ~ 12/30/22

The plan was to read 4 books 📚 in 4 days but I’m savoring the last one. I’m waiting to be fully done before I write reviews. These are hardback library books for old times sake. I’ve graduated to Kindle but I’m skipping ahead in queue since the library books are express collection, no holds or renewals. I’ll be back to Kindle in the New Year. Absent book reviews, here’s a story instead.

It was a dark and stormy night !!

Oh good grief. Let’s start this again.

The doorbell startled her out of her reverie As she peeked through the glass in the front door, she saw two women huddled together. The night was bitter cold & sleeting, why would they brave the elements to be here?

She cracked open the door with a tentative “how may I help you?”

“I’m Barbara, I made my daughter bring me here. It’s about your brother, Paul.”

End scene 🎬 That really happened & the she is me a full five years before the terrible circumstances involving my brother were exposed. If only I had listened. Or maybe better I didn’t listen at the time because what was supposed to happen is what ultimately happened even with intermingled tragedy.

Until next time.

As always more to come

P.S. Totally unrelated. I’m drinking my one cup of coffee a day only on weekends with my Invisalign trays in! Who cares if the trays get stained. Least of my worries 😳 I get new trays each Tuesday anyways.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

Non spoiler review: I really enjoyed this book & I did what I always do. I escaped and drew parallels to my current situation. Such a wonderful way to feel less alone. The storyline was a murder mystery along the lines of Clue. A real whodunnit with a fantastical ending. The characters were richly described & people I’d like to get to know despite their flaws. I’ve always gravitated towards offbeat. I practically rewrote the story in my common place book because there were that many quotes too good to pass up.

I’ll list several then I’ll let you go. Drop a line in the comments if you’ve read this book & want to discuss.

  • families are like fingerprints; no two are alike, and they tend to leave a mark
  • some people drink to drown their sorrows others drink to swim in them
  • while my father uses punctuality as kindness, my mother uses lateness to offend
  • everyone you know is both good & bad, it’s part of being human
  • … the wish to walk in someone else’s shoes – which is what actors & writers do – is a very human desire
  • I wonder if we are all just echoes of the people we might have been if life had unfolded differently. The by products of a crease in time.
  • a backstage pass is a myth when it comes to human relationships; we can never really know another person because we rarely know ourselves
  • but words don’t come with gift receipts, you can’t take them back

And the above is only a smaller selection. I had to stop myself because each line hit so close to home & wanted to write every last one. Especially the 3rd from the end … what might have been … such a bitter pill when choices are made for you. Can’t go backwards either. No do-overs making what might have been a pipe dream. Onward through the fog!

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of Wild Game My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur

Sidebar before the review. For the first time in I can’t remember when, I didn’t read enough of the 2022 popular books to vote in Goodreads best of … In all the categories combined, I read only one of the books in the running. Guess I need to read more or pick from contemporary selections more often. I’ve already met my goal for 2022 since it is an easy achievement to read one book per month. My SMART goal = Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-bound. My day job interferes & while I can usually get in two books a month, I’ve been a bit aimless & unable to concentrate lately. Excuse excuses.

This book is a memoir & I have strict rules about giving my two cents to something so personal. This story reads like fiction though. Borrowing from one reviewer, the prose is absolutely beautiful. My oh my can the author paint pictures with her words. I love her nickname – Rennie short for Adrienne. Because y’all know I’ve got a thing for nicknames. I collect them & give them out handily.

As I always do when reading, I internalize to my story & try to imprint something useful in my life or to escape my life. This time, I didn’t have to look far. Encouraged by her stepmom to do so, Rennie begins to read, then discusses the books afterwards. This brings her much need respite. She uses note cards to write quotes & factoids about how the words integrate into her own life. I have always done this for as long as I can remember. It is called keeping a commonplace book. The only difference is she used index cards to my journals. A friend eventually gives her a tin box like for recipes to organize the cards. There is symbolism there since Rennie’s mom, Malabar was a chef. I ❤ this so much!! At the heart of it this book is a story of family & the ties that bind. Relationships taking on lives of their own. The heart wants what the heart wants & be damn the consequences. Her mother putting it loosely is a piece of work. That’s where I will stop because you know, not my business to judge.

Now for a few quotes from my commonplace book. All quotes except one noted below are attributed to the author

  • When you lie to someone you love … you lose the only thing that matters, a possibility of a real connection.
  • Loneliness is not about how many people you have around you. It’s about whether or not you feel connected. Whether or not you’re able to be yourself.
  • It was as if a lifetime’s worth f emotional chutes & trapdoors installed for self protection decades ago had malfunctioned in a spectacular way.
  • Memory is an odd curator.
  • But time didn’t stop there; instead it kept scrolling backwards.
  • Let everything happen to you / Beauty & terror / Just keep going / No feeling is final. ~ Rilke
  • Why is it that an insult stays with you forever, whereas love & praise passes through you like water through a sieve?
  • If there is one truth that I’d learned from all my reading, it was this: Happy endings do not apply to everyone.
  • Our allegiance had always been to Malabar, not each other; we’d grown up like vines willing to strangle each other for sunshine.
  • Time leaped erractically: slow days, fast months, winged years.

Definitely a recommended read. Peace be with you. Until next time.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of Into the Sound by Cara Reinard ~ 10/28/22

My Goodreads non spoiler review – A mystery. Good up until the end which was a bit unrealistic. Second book I’ve read lately with histrionic mother figures. An overdone trope.

Of course I still have some good quotes …

“Objects didn’t have a pulse and didn’t hold her interest.”

“Alone with my books, worlds to explore”

“I was an English major, remember? Everything I say is more dramatic than it needs to be ;)”

“Nothing is sadder than being in a room full of people who make you feel like you’re all alone.”

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

“… philosopher and poet Kahlil Gibran came to mind. “If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.”

Cara Reinard from Into the Sound