Thursday, April 19, 2018


I read Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen in 2011. It's a book that followed a woman as she left her abusive husband, bringing her son along as they started a secret new life. There were vivid flashbacks, but also a lot of current action. It had a good narrative structure, but overall felt very stream-of-consciousness, which worked perfectly.

As the woman adjusted to her new life, you were living day-to-day right along with her. When she was struck by fear of her husband finding her, you were jolted into that emotion as well. It was very powerful, very realistic, and very suspenseful. The prose was beautiful in many parts, but never too flowery. The characters were realistic and likable, and I found myself thinking about them even after finishing the book.

I read this book at the perfect time because I was struggling with a story I was writing. It was a story told in three or four parts (I was undecided at that time), and the main character was a wife leaving her husband. This really helped me get into the minds of my characters and get immersed in that world. I finished the set of stories and it's still one of my favorites, and I credit this book for helping me through it. (Along with Foo Fighters' "The Pretender"... long story!)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


When I get rid of my own fiction or nonfiction books, I prefer to list them on PaperbackSwap. I’ve gotten a lot of books from that site, and passed on a lot, too. 

You can create a wishlist of books you want, and when they are available, you’ll get an email and a chance to claim the book. If you want a specific title your library doesn’t have, this is a great way to get a chance to read it. If you REALLY want a book on a time crunch, it might not be the best solution. But if you search a book and a member has it, you CAN get it immediately. The wishlist is just a nice way to keep track of what you want.

If a book won't sell for much on other sites, I'll list it on PaperbackSwap for awhile so someone who really wants it has a chance at getting it.

I like the idea of passing along books when you're done with them, but I admit that I've kept several for my collection, too! I don't mind used books - I actually prefer them because once they get a little worn or bent, you won't feel horrible for ruining a brand new book. I especially like them if they're discarded library books because I love seeing the circulation systems other libraries use.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Odd Sea

I've read this book countless times since high school; it's one of my top three favorite books. Ethan Shumway is sixteen when he disappears - literally disappears: his younger brother, Philip, sees Ethan at the end of the driveway one minute, then he's gone. The book is Philip's searching for (or "not-finding", as he calls it) Ethan.

There is something about Reiken's writing that makes the whole story vague and mysterious, yet complete enough to be satisfying, regardless of what the resolution may be. It's on my shelf of Favorite Books and has been there since I got my own copy. It's a beautiful, little-known book that you should read.