Category Archives: ebook

Power Outage: Silver Lining

We live in an old home in an old neighborhood. I love it because it’s incredibly convenient and we have a big yard for our dogs. Oh, and the random-width pegged hardwood floors. The floors were the real selling point for me. People with newer houses visit and talk about what “character” our house has and how wonderful all the “mature trees” are. Character means there’s not a ninety-degree angle to be found in a single corner of this house, and that some long-dead owner thought he knew how to run plumbing and electrical lines. After twenty-four years we’re still finding weird crap. Mature trees are ones that will soon fall on your house, car, and garage or those of your neighbors.

It came up a bad cloud (as Lewis Grizzard would say) a week or so ago. We lost power. The next morning we found out we hadn’t just lost power, we’d lost trees. We’re still not sure of the exact count since they were all tangled up and we can’t move anything until the insurance adjuster takes a look since our coverage is ‘per tree’. New concept for me. Anyway, the biggest tree fell into a total of four yards, took out three fences, pulled up the foundation of our garage, and left us without power, cable, or internet. I missed the power because I needed ice packs for my neck and back. I didn’t miss cable since I don’t even know how to turn on our TV. Sadly, I did miss the internet.

But instead of reading books on my Kindle (no power) I read a couple of books I’d selected from my husband’s late aunt’s full-house library.  One was called Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo. It’s a very clever novel about a man who ends up taking his quirky sister’s guru with him on a cross-country road trip. It’s both entertaining and enlightening. Saying any more than that would be a spoiler. I’m planning on reading more from this author!


Next I read The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester. I’m not sure, but I think this is non-fiction with literary license taken. It’s about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary. Boring, right? Oh, not even close! It’s a total page-turner for anyone who loves words. I was blown away early on by the simple fact that no English dictionary existed during Shakespeare’s time. He couldn’t just “look something up”. Crazy, right? Brilliant book.

Next time the power goes out (if you still have above-ground power lines as I do) pull a book off the shelf and read by candlelight. It’s addictive!

Heading to Camp!

Camp NaNoWriMo, that is! November is the traditional National Novel Writing Month, but Camp NaNo is July (as in NOW) and everyone gets to set their own goals (words, lines, hours, whatever) and work on whatever they like! I’m finishing and editing my current WIP, so if you don’t hear much from me that’s why. I’m planning thirty total hours of writing for the month. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but I can only sit upright for fifteen minutes or so without paying for it by lying in bed with ice packs covering my spine for a day or two afterwards. So my timer is my friend.

There are about a dozen fascinating people in my cabin and I’m looking forward to getting to know them! I built in a writing-free day for when my grandson arrives (due VERY soon) so I can read texts, talk on the phone, swoon over pictures, and hopefully see him on FaceTime!

Bibliophile Spring Cleaning

Today I will . . . That’s the Mama Kat writing prompt I’m going with this week.

Today normal people are probably doing Spring Cleaning. They are washing windows, cleaning out closets, washing baseboards, and perhaps even alphabetizing their canned goods. I’ve never claimed to be normal. I do alphabetize my spices, but only because I have so many of them and no patience.

Instead of Spring Cleaning (which I really should be doing) I’m reorganizing my bookshelves. Yes, I buy nearly all the books I read in Kindle format and read them on my iPad. I also borrow a lot of library books in both print and eBook. But I still buy my favorite authors in hardback, and I buy local authors in hardback/softcover so I can get them signed. There are books in every single room of my home except the bathrooms. The rattiest shelves are the ones with books the whole family enjoys: Harry Potter and Stephanie Plum, to be specific!

Earlier this year my husband’s aunt passed away. She was an incredible woman, and her home reflected that. I have wonderful memories of visiting her with my mother-in-law and thinking that being there was my version of heaven. We sat and drank tea, talking about fifty different topics within a two-hour visit! Every single room (except the bathroom) was a library. Every wall in every room was covered with shelves. After she passed away her children opened the main house to family and friends, letting them take whatever books most appealed to them. I couldn’t go that day (damn F*$%ing pain), but was blessed with an opportunity to go a few weeks later. Her collection was eclectic, to say the least!

My youngest son, John, drove me over. He’d been at the memorial service, and so was already familiar with the house. I’d warned him in advance that the first-floor hallway had been narrowed by bookshelves on both sides, but since I’d been there she had also filled every closet with books! Her children had printed out hundreds of labels with her name, date of birth, and date of passing to be put into books taken home – that’s how she will best be remembered by generations of people.

I’m a bit OCD about my books. I’m about 95% Fiction, while my husband Michael is 100% History. Mine are all arranged by author, and then chronologically by year of publication. But the order of authors is pure favoritism. When Stephen King announced (several years ago) that he would continue writing but would not publish – well, I stopped giving him shelf space. Liar, liar, pants-on-fire!! He’s still publishing (for which I am very thankful), but now I need to spread his books out and move Anne Rice AND John Grisham. And since SK’s son, Joe Hill, is incredibly awesome he needs his own dedicated space.

I even have a special spot for local authors, most of which are signed First Editions. Every bookstore should have this, BTW, but odds are you’ll only find it at locally-owned shops. But that’s where you should be shopping anyway.

Tiffany Reisz gets her own section, which will expand exponentially now that I don’t have a teen boy in the house 24/7. I’ve read all of her books multiple times on Kindle, but the only print copies I had were from book signings I’d attended. Now I can indulge myself with print copies of all her books. I may even be able to get signed copies of all of them from a small bookstore near her home. YAY!

I was spoiled for many years by having a large, wonderful family-owned bookstore (Hawley-Cooke) five minutes away. All the employees were bibliophiles, and if they didn’t know how to find what a customer was looking for they took it as a personal challenge to find it. Better yet, I could tell any one of them what I liked and they’d introduce me to a new author in that genre. That’s particularly helpful in Children’s Books. If you like Richard Scarry you will not like Mo Willems. Mo Willems rocks, IMHO. And I have plenty of room to expand my collection for visiting kiddos:

What will YOU do today??

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