Archive for the ‘reading’ Category


This year I have joined Dewey’s Read-a-thon, a 24 hour slot to read! You don’t have to read the entire time, it’s just a day that is dedicated to reading. I’m hoping to get in at least six hours of reading today. It happens that I just yesterday found out about it and I had already told my daughter that I would go with her to take the kids to a Halloween costume giveaway from Gleaners and there’s lunch and crafts involved so that sounds like at least four hours! And who knows what else will happen later. I also intend to do some blogging.

Part of the read-a-thon is to provide occasional updates. I will be doing so on this blog post by updating it throughout the day. So my followers can ignore notifications of this post being published over and over again throughout the day.

It’s one in the morning and I want to get in at least an hour of reading before turning out the lights. I probably will not update until ten or so Pacific time. I’m currently reading an ARC copy of An American Family by Khizr Khan, which is a memoir.

Update 1: I read for an hour and got from 19% of the book to 38% before my eyes were too tired to go on. Then a half hour after I turned out the light, I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep so I read a few blogs online and checked the message boards for NaNoWriMo. I ended up sleeping less than two hours and now I really need to sleep at least another hour. Hopefully another check in in a few hours and more progress to report on my book.

Update 2: This has not been a good day. It started yesterday. My sciatica came back. Not as horrible as in the past but bad enough so that I had to take a pain pill and a couple of muscle relaxants. That means I slept all afternoon. I just woke up around 8:30 this evening. I’ve taken my insulin and had something to eat and now I’m going to give reading another shot. With luck, I won’t fall asleep or have to take any more pain meds.

Update 3: Well, it’s eleven o’clock. I’m at about 51% in my book, which by the way, is a pretty interesting look at a Pakistani family immigrating to the United States in the 1970’s. They arrived so that the husband could attend Harvard Law School but had to spend some time working to be able to afford the tuition. From the first chapter, I know that they ended up staying but so far, from the reading, I don’t know much past their arrival in Houston, Texas. So far, a good read. The plan is to read for a bit more, maybe until midnight then I’ll most likely need another pain pill because things are moving in that direction. I think I’m going to try to read for a substantial part of Sunday to make up for not reading enough on Saturday.

Update 4: All in all, before I got too tired to keep my eyes open, around 4 this morning, I had read up to 71% of the book. Almost done. I think I will finish it today then I need to write a review before I move on to the next book.

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I awoke in the predawn hours today to hear the news on TV…Harper Lee had died at the age of 89. That’s a good age. It was said that she had been deaf and blind for at least the last five years. It was a matter of time. Hopefully, now no one will take advantage of her again. She wrote my all-time favorite novel. Next to To Kill A Mockingbird, nothing stands any here as good. If I had been given the choice to read only one book my entire life, it would be To Kill A Mockingbird. It is that good.

It’s a day to think about her and her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. It’s a time to celebrate her work and the mark she has left on every person that has ever read her book. It’s a day to ask some questions. Why didn’t she ever write another novel? How close to autobiographical elements in her life were the events in the novel? What about Go Set A Watchman? Which Atticus was the true one? Does GSAW invalidate TKAM?

I won’t try to answer all of those questions here. I have my opinions and I’ve read a lot about her life and those around her, both in her childhood years and in her adulthood. As far as Go Set A Watchman, my worry is that it will influence people, especially schools, to not read To Kill A Mockingbird. That would be a crime, at least in my opinion. I will say that I’ve read that she was so traumatized by all of the publicity and criticism she got after TKAM that she didn’t ever want to put herself through that again.

I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers but, at the same time, I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I’d expected.— Harper Lee, quoted in Newquist, 1964

I’ve also read that she was a perfectionist and had begun a couple of novels, including at least one non fiction book but put never finished them any of them because she was unhappy with her writing. That sounds like a perfectionist to me; like a writer, always second guessing herself.

Tonight, I will stream To Kill A Mockingbird and perhaps I will begin re-reading it and Go Set A Watchman. And I will think of that timid, talented woman that kept so many words inside of her…so many words that we would all love to have read. I will celebrate that she lived and wrote and left us Scout and Atticus and all those other people of Maycomb.

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I know a lot of non readers that think having to read is nothing short of going to hell.  I love reading.  Reading is like heaven to me  However, some of the books that I have read are responsible for sending me to hell!

This is Banned Books Week.  The American Library Association sponsors a number of activities to highlight the fact that banning books is censorship; that banning books restricts our freedom to read any book we choose.  I think almost every one of us has read a book that has been banned or challenged at some point. (Challenged books are books that a person or group of people tries to get banned.)  Many of the titles are or have at some point been required reading in school, be it primary, intermediate, secondary, or higher education.

The Bible has been on the Banned Books List.  How many of you were required to read To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher In the Rye, The Giver, The Great Gatsby, Grapes of Wrath, 1984, Animal Farm, Catch 22, Call of the Wild?  All on the Banned Books List.  How many of you have chosen to read Lolita, Gone With the Wind, The Harry Potter series, The Color Purple, As I Lay Dying, A Clockwork Orange, Sophie’s Choice, or In Cold Blood? Yup, all Banned Books at one time or another.

Maybe you haven’t read any of these titles.  Maybe you don’t think any of these are any good.  I would actually agree that some of these aren’t the best books or just are not to my taste, however I would stand up and say that anyone that wants access to any book should have that access.  Governments should not be able to take that right away.  Schools should not be able to take that right away.  Churches should not be able to take that right away.  Or anyone else, with the exception of parents restricting access to their children who are too young or too sensitive for some of the topics covered in these books.

One of my favorite list of banned books is found on Goodreads. It’s called Books I’m Going To Hell For Reading. It lists 100 books  I’ve read about 48 of them.  Check the list.  I’m pretty sure you’ve read at least 25 from that list, at least you have if you’re in the USA or went to school in the USA.  Check it.

Celebrate Banned Books Week by reading a banned book.  There are a lot of them out there, unfortunately.

Later this week I’ll tell you about the time a parent challenged a book I was teaching in 5th grade…a district approved and district supplied book.

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Friday 56

I wanted to share from this book today but I haven’t gotten to 56% yet.  Almost there but not quite.  So I decided this quote was a really good one to share.  It appears at  40% on my Kindle:

“The one human being she had ever fully and wholeheartedly trusted had failed her; the one man she had ever known to whom she could point and say with expert knowledge ‘He is a gentleman, in his heart he is a gentleman,’ had betrayed her, publicly, grossly, and shamelessly.”

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

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Friday 56


I’m really enjoying Rokitansky by Alice Darwin. It is about three different women, each in a different stage of their life. The chapters rotate from Moira to Tori to Ms Brown. As of this writing, I don’t yet know what connects them, although I can guess, as that has yet to be revealed. So far, very interesting and very sad.

“The letter from the stranger had made Tori cry. harry had wanted to cry watching her read it. He had grown accustomed to watching his wife have her heart repeatedly broken. He felt powerless to stop it from happening again, unable to mend her.” (55% on Kindle)

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in Linky here. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

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I don’t think I am prudish but some might see me as such. I don’t know, maybe it’s old age. But then again, I’m “one of those” that has never used certain four letter words in my entire life and don’t see myself ever using them. My parents always said that using “foul” language was a lack of education. They said only those who could not otherwise express themselves would use such language. And I’ve always been “the good girl”, the “obedient daughter”. It doesn’t necessarily bother me when I hear a “well placed” expletive because sometimes that’s the only way the strength of an emotion can be conveyed. For me though, it doesn’t feel right and so I choose not to use such language.

I also find these days that I am bothered by explicit sex scenes in books as I read. Not all sex scenes but there are those that just appear in a book for the sake of it, not because they belong. There are such scenes that go way too far in describing what is going on in a book that is otherwise not at all gratuitous. The scenes just don’t fit in with the storyline or the characters. Those bother me. And then there is also the fact that in books, as in movies, sometimes less is more. Sometimes an inference is much better than explicit details. I’m actually thinking there should be some kind of rating on books to let the reader know what they are getting themselves into. I’m not saying that such books should not be written, published, or read. I’m just saying that I would like to know if such scenes are in the book before I decide to spend money and time reading them. Maybe I would just rather use my own imagination in those scenes instead of having someone else tell me who did what to whom and how many times.

So maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s old age. Maybe it’s a sign that I don’t fit in with “modern” times. And yeah, maybe I’m just a prude!

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Please help me welcome Joanne Huspek, author of two published novels, and a personal friend. I hope you enjoy this post and that you share it with your friends, followers, fellow tweeters, etc.


Joanne Huspek

Joanne Huspek

Joanne Huspek is an author who lives in the frozen tundra called Michigan, where she helps her husband run a business while attempting to keep warm.

During the summer months, she can be seen puttering around the garden, trying to save her tender veggies from marauding squirrels.

Joanne self-published Virtually Yours as an eBook in 2012 and Finding Cadence as both eBook and physical copy in 2014.

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. What do you do for fun?
There’s not much time for fun around my house! Besides writing, which I do for fun and escape, I like making wire wrap jewelry. I’m especially interested in using fiber and basket weaving techniques in my designs, which is difficult because wire can get very brittle. I like rocks and stones, too. Otherwise, my other “fun” is inventive cooking, eating well, and enjoying fine wine.

Q: What do you like most about the genre you write in?
I do not stick to one “formula” genre. I write about women and their problems. I’ve written serious literary (Finding Cadence) as well as romance mixed with mystery (Virtually Yours) and have tried my hand at YA a couple of times. I love writing from a woman’s point of view. I lovingly call my work “mom-lit” – chick lit for those of us who used to be chicks. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

Q: Where is your favorite place to write?
I have a favorite comfy chair in my bedroom, and if that seat is taken by my cat, there’s another downstairs in the family room. I find it intimidating to write in public spaces like in cafes or libraries. To write fiction, I need absolute silence and a minimum of distractions – hard to do in my life, but I manage to carve out some quiet time.

Q: What’s your next project?
I’m editing the sequel to Virtually Yours, called Virtually Yours Forever. I hope to release it by the end of this year, fingers crossed. I’m working with a developmental editor and he wants to weave in a parallel story line having to do with the Internet (again!), so this is no small undertaking. After that, I need to edit a YA I completed years ago, and finish the accompanying romance (same story, told in the mother’s point of view).

The Books:
Finding Cadence
The Reeds (Cadence and Carter) seem to have it all: an enduring marriage, wealth and social standing, a thriving business, and talented pianist son attending a West Coast conservatory. But an accident on an icy Michigan highway leaves Cadence Reed an unexpected widow. After the funeral, Cadie learns her loss is not limited to Carter’s passing. Layer after layer of secrets are revealed, exposing Carter as a philandering sociopath who has left his family in a precarious financial state. Her heart broken, her world in shambles, Cadie and her son embark on a journey, across the country and into Cadie’s past. Cadence must look deep inside herself to find the will and a means to survive.

FINDING CADENCE explores deception and depression, the intricate and tentative bond of relationships, and one woman’s determination to overcome pride and adversity to find the strength to carry on.

Finding Cadence

Finding Cadence

E-book contains questions for discussion.

VIRTUALLY YOURS is the offbeat and humorous journey of the on-and-offline relationships of six women who met and maintained a lasting friendship on the Internet. The Virtual Moms embrace a newbie – with a secret – and the dynamic is changed, adding an unexpected twist to the lives of the friends.

Virtually Yours
Thanks to the prodding of sassy Manhattanite Janna Abraham, the Virtual Moms allow North Carolina stay-at-home parent and romance novelist Asheley MacDaniel, entree into their club. A recent Iraq War widow and alone with an adorable young son, Ashe proves a sympathetic figure. Although some of the members initially balk, Ashe fits in easily — perhaps too easily — sharing valuable insights on the personal dramas of Missy and Laurel, while gaining strong rapport with Ally and Skye.

Skeptical Celia is not as easily swayed as her friends. Who is this Asheley MacDaniel, and why are the VMs in virtual love with this newbie? Why is Ashe so secretive, and why won’t she email photos of herself and her five-year-old? And who was the stranger who answered the phone when Celia called?

Ashe has a secret, all right, one that the girls do not learn until after the friendships strengthen. Just as Ashe lands a book deal, Celia has enlisted the services of a private investigator and the truth now lies in an envelope in her hands. But before the truth can be told, Ashe decides to make the long drive from North Carolina to New York City to bear all to Janna in person, even as the revelation could cost dearly.
E-Book Includes Questions for Discussion

Coming soon! Stay tuned…Virtually Yours Forever,
It’s a Virtual Moms wedding!

After four years of cyber and long-distance dating, Janna and Ashe are finally taking the Big Step – making their relationship legal. They’ve invited the women in their private online group, the Virtual Moms, to the grand festivities in New York. However, Real Life mama drama threatens to upset the proceedings.

Matronly Ally believes her husband is going off the rails – with the friendly, sex kitten neighbor next door. Can she leave with danger a driveway away? Frazzled Laurel is still single-handedly supporting her family and wondering how to fund her son’s college education, when she is offered an off-beat position she’s not sure she can accept. Ex-beauty queen Missy finds herself stretched thin between two needy teenagers, an established career and a glamorous ‘dream’ job – complete with fast-talking hunk. Super-confident, ultra-organized Celia has taken the reins as matron of honor for Janna, completely ignoring the potential groom who is knocking at her own door. Lost in the preparations, Skye is curiously silent and withdrawn.

Janna quickly heads down the path toward Bridezilla status as she obsesses over the vision of a perfect ceremony. There’s also that slinky designer gown she chose. She’ll need to lose five pounds in order to be wedged into it. Ashe spends most of his time in Bonnie Doone on the pretext of getting the old home ready for sale; instead of packing, he recalls bittersweet memories about his beautiful first wife who died in Iraq.

Added to the chaos is the sudden appearance of Master Perturbation, the new bitchy blog sensation that’s taking the Internet by storm. The posts mirror the lives of the real life Virtual Moms. Could one of the VMs have penned the hurtful blog?

As the clock ticks closer to the nuptials, the group threatens to fall apart. With a record-breaking Nor’easter dumping two and a half feet of snow up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and with Janna and Ashe fussing, will they – and the rest of the VMs – make it to the ceremony?

Where to find Joanne Huspek
Joanne Huspek’s blog

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