Category Archives: Books

I’m worried about Kinsey Millhone

Detective novelist, Sue Grafton, died on Dec. 28, 2017. She wrote the “alphabet series” of books featuring a private detective named Kinsey Millhone. I have listened to every book on audio read by Judy Kaye from A is for Alibi to Y is for Yesterday. I love Kinsey Millhone. She’s the type of gutsy, independent woman I wish I could be.

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Sue Grafton’s death reported on CNN

I read that Grafton’s last book in the alphabet series was to be Z is for Zero, and because her family said she would not have wanted a ghostwriter, Y is the end of the line. I have never liked the idea of a ghost writer continuing where a novelist left off, so I’m okay with no Z.

The thing is, I have this feeling that Kinsey is out there in the fictional Santa Teresa, California waiting for something to happen. She’s waiting for Sue to write a new adventure. Maybe she goes over to her landlord Henry’s apartment and talks to him about their next steps as he busies himself in the kitchen baking bread. I know she and Henry are not real, but they are kind of real. Aren’t they?  I want them to be okay.

Yep, I might be slightly crazy.

I almost want to write some Sue Grafton fan fiction. I won’t do that. This world belongs to Grafton, not to me. I am considering developing a fantasy for myself that puts me in Kinsey’s world. I don’t really relish the idea of going back to the 80s in this fantasy. Would I go back as an awkward teenager or as me of today? Who would I be in this world?

Maybe I need to write my own female detective who happens to be a Kinsey Millhone fan.  She might have a bit of a Stephanie Plum vibe too.  Janet Evanovich had better stay healthy!

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Listening

I love audio books. I’ve been an Audible.com member since I found out about it sometime in the early 2000s.  Before that, I was a frequent consumer of the public library‘s books on tape and cd.  These days I get my library audio via the Hoopla app.

I recently decided to listen to books with the word girl in the title.

  1. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
  2. Girl on a Train – AJ Waines
  3. The Girl in the Ice – Robert Bryndza
  4. The Girl with No Past – Kathryn Croft
  5. The Girl in the Spider’s Web – David Lagercrantz

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I listened to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn a while back, so it doesn’t count as part of this “girl” spree. The same can be said for Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl.

I ran out of mystery/thrillers with “girl” in the title, so I had to move on.  I listened to The Night Detectives by John Talton, and after that, I was happy to find two more Mary Kubica books, Don’t You Cry and Pretty Baby. After that came Under Your Skin by Sabine Durrant. My current listen is to Durrant’s Remember Me This Way.

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All this reading/listening has me wanting to write a thriller. I want to do the work it takes to create characters and place. I want to construct a story that hangs together and ends well. As I listened to these books, I had ideas for ways they could have been better. It’s not even about becoming a published author. It’s about going through the process. Of course, I don’t have time to write a novel and make jewelry and art. Maybe I can make time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books and School

I’m reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It’s about overcoming what stops you from sitting down and doing your art. I learned about it from a blog post  about books by Amanda Miniger. I really like Ms. Miniger’s  writing style. I just finished reading the fourth of the Wool series by Hugh Howey and wanted to switch gears for a bit before hitting the next one so I did a search for “best books of…” The War of Art came up again. It seemed like a good sign.  It’s a fast and enjoyable read.

Today is the day I finish my essay on public libraries. I’m enjoying the writing. I decided not to be there for the final group presentation in class. My part is small, and my energy is still pretty low. The other two group members are way more invested in it than I am anyway. Need to do some work for my real job too. I might take a stab at organizing one of the pantry shelves too.

Kitchen pantry

After counting up my credit hours for the MLS degree, I have determined that I need 3 more. Happily, the History of Libraries is being offered! It’s in the first summer session which is an intense 6 weeks so I’m in for hard work. I’m looking forward to going back to being an IU employee and not a student.

Herman B Wells Library at IU Bloomington

Herman B Wells Library at IU Bloomington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading, Listening, Writing

I recently listened to the audio version of a novel called NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. You can find the synopsis on Wikipedia. I liked this book a lot. As I listened, I had the thought that this could be my favorite book of all time. I don’t know if that says a lot, because I don’t consider myself to be a heavy reader. I do consume a lot of audiobooks. Sometimes I feel like listening to a book is kind of cheating. Does that mean blind people are cheating if they listen to a book instead of read it in Braille? What about blind people who don’t have the use of their hands? I think that if the words from the book somehow make their way into your consciousness, you have consumed the content of that book. Reading is not supposed to be a competition.

Anyway, in NOS4A2 there was more than one reality. The main character was able to ride her bike across a covered bridge and go where she needed to go, usually to find a lost item. She was able to create her own reality that was just as real as the one the rest of us know. I think we can all do that to some degree. I think I have done this.  I beleieve that just about everything I have wanted out of life has come to pass, or is in the process of becoming a reality. I don’t know a lot about The Law of Attraction, but that’s the kind of stuff I’m talking about.

 

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So reading books about alternate realities makes me want to write my own book. I’ve been in the business of thinking I want to be a writer for years. I’ve done more thinking than writing. I’ve written a couple of short stories that could be categorized as “Magical Realism.”  I’ve begun writing a book and then quit it. Maybe I’ll try again when I’m 50. That’s only about 5 years!  Yikes, I’m almost 50!

I could declare that I will endeavor to write more. I will build a writing practice. But let’s get real. Declaring it in a blog post won’t make it so. I’d say I’ll probably start doing it when I’m ready to do it. Can I be okay with that decision? Can I stop calling myself  a failure if I haven’t accomplished X, Y, and or Z before a certain age?  Sometimes I feel like I’m running out of time, but really I might have 50 or so more years to go.

 

So little writing

I could say that my blogging activity has pretty much ceased because I’m protesting National Novel Writing Month.  That is not the case.  I just don’t have time. I think about writing a lot though. Unfortunatley that’s not enough.

I have been making jewelry.

Memory wire bracelet

Memory wire bracelet

 

 

Memory wire bracelet

Memory wire bracelet

 

I also took a class at Gather Handmade Shoppe. Check them out if you’re in Bloomington!

I made an altered book journal. Here are the highlights.

Image from Altere Book Journal Workshop

 

Images from Altered Book Journal workshop.

 

My altered book journal

Book Review-Job Interviewers: Get Inside Their Heads

Job Interviewers: Get Inside Their Heads written by Jack Dermody is the type of book I would buy because it looks like the ideas in it are solid. It’s also the type of book that I don’t make good use of because I just don’t like to stop and the do the exercises. I listened to the audiobook, but skipped the work, so this review is not a reflection of the full experience.

Audiobook cover for Job Interviewers: Get Inside Their HeadsThe idea behind the book is that when preparing for a job interview you should put the focus on your interviewers instead of yourself. The book  shows you how  to design your interview answers to align with your interviewers’ values—not yours.

Dermody breaks down the world  into the four classic personality types to make it easier for you to understand who you might be talking to in an interview. I don’t know if I believe that the world should be simplified like this, but it is an interesting take.

Dermody also suggests you  take the personality test to see what type you are. You can find the test at http://jackdermody.com/free-survey. The idea is that you look at qualities, good and bad, that go along with your personality type and play up the positive during the interview. I have mixed feelings about this because I think you need to be yourself in an interview. They’re either going to like you or not. If you get the job, they’ll eventually find out what you’re really like. At that point, you may prove to be a bad fit for the position. They won’t be happy and neither will you.

You might wonder how you can know the personality types of the people who are interviewing you. Dermody says that since you can’t know this you must make sure you address the values of all the types when you answer interview questions. He then provides some exercises to help you formulate those answers based on lists of the questions each personality type is likely to ask.

This book asks you to do a lot of work. I didn’t do the work, but I should. It would probably give me some deeper insights into myself and boost my confidence for the next job interview.

The bottom line is that you should probably prepare yourself to do your best in a job interview. This book could help. I don’t recommend the audiobook because the narrator sounds like an authority figure type from the 1950s. Also, you’re probably less likely to do the work if you don’t have the hard copy in front of you.

Happy job hunting!

About a Book

I recently listened to The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick. I’m going to write about it, but I’m not calling this a book review. I don’t feel like I know enough about literature to write a proper review. Perhaps, if I start reading book reviews regularly I’d get a feel for it. So this is going to be me talking about a book that I enjoyed

The Good Luck of Right Now

Click the image to see it on Amazon.

The Good Luck of Right Now is the story of a 38 year old man named Bartholomew Neil. He has spent the last several years of his life taking care of his mother who was sick with cancer. He’s never had a job or lived on his own, so his mother’s death is particularly difficult for him.

Bartholomew is someone who is not quite right. I get the feeling he is somewhere on the Autism/Aspergers spectrum, but his diagnosis is never revealed.

Much of the story is told as a series of letters that Bartholomew writes to the actor, Richard Gere. Gere becomes his imaginary confidant, helping him get through various difficult situations, including the task of getting to know the girl of his dreams.

Bartholomew becomes friends with Max, another ‘not quite right’ guy he meets in group therapy. Max says the word “fucking” a lot. The book’s narrator did a good job of portraying Max; a childlike man with quite a coarse way of expressing himself.

This book is about people who don’t fit in, and I think that’s why I enjoyed it. I have always fit in. Even when I was the only black kid in the neighborhood and school, I was accepted. There was a place for me. Though I like to think of myself as artsy and weird, I’m pretty much a part of the mainstream. The characters in this book aren’t like that. They’ve been misfits since childhood, and they always will be. I liked looking into his  world, maybe getting a taste of what it’s like to live on the fringes.

So I’ll give The Good Luck of Right Now five stars out of five for story, and five out of five for Oliver Wyman’s narration. You should go and read it (or give it a listen)!