Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Books I Keep Meaning To Read

 Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

Books I Keep Meaning to Read (and haven't yet)

This post could get incredibly long if I start listing titles. I'm an avid reader, but I'm not a fast reader. I'm often reading three books at a time: one at my bedside, one on the little table by my easy chair, and one on my tablet. Although I do intend to read every night before bed, I'll have to admit I too often end up working until I'm too tired to see straight and then just crash. So, my list just keeps growing, especially since I can't help myself when I take a grandchild or two or three into the local bookstore and find something that catches my eye. Those reasons combined are why my main bookshelf currently looks like this:


Well, I have had a lot of help with little hands to make them look like this, since they've all been taught how wonderful books are and they absolutely must look at Grandma's shelves, too. Never mind, that bottom right shelf was cleared of mine to make way for theirs. One day, I'll get around to organizing it again.

In the meantime, I'm working, sloth-like, at reading those pictured that I haven't yet. Currently, those I've read and those I haven't are all mixed together. I have read all of the John Jakes Kent Family Chronicles and a few of his others, several of the Irving Stone books, Winter's Tale, and a few Lisa Genova books. I intend to read the rest of hers, and Stone's, plus the Jakes North & South series.

Other main intend to read and haven't yet books:

~~ The rest of Shakespeare's plays. I have read quite a few.

~~ The rest of Mark Twain's books.

~~ I read The Iliad last year and meant to read The Odyssey this year. By now, that will be on next year's list.

~~ More of John Irving's.

~~ More of Edward Rutherford (in the middle of New York right now)

~~ More Joyce Carol Oates.

~~ More classic lit in general.

~~ Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is sitting behind some of those books, also.

In between my beloved classics and lit fic, I pick up current authors when they catch my eye, often beach/scenic reads for a little brain vacation. :-)

What's on the top of your list of Books you Mean to Read and haven't yet? (If you click on the top image, you can add your own blog post to the list.)


In Memory. Photo ©LK Hunsaker 2001.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Tough Topics in Fiction

 Weekly Blog Prompt

Today's Prompt: Books That Deal Well With Tough Topics

I've been meaning to jump into this challenge for some time, and keep ending up using whatever writing time I can find to ... well, write/edit/publish. This one, though, dragged me right in because it's up my alley.

I'll admit it. I read big books with tough topics. Regularly. I also read fun things in between and I have a particular penchant for cozy mysteries. I suppose reading literary fiction is my way of trying to figure out the world. I like to see things from so many other viewpoints in order to get that balance that makes things make sense. Things do make sense when you read widely enough.

Some of those books that stand out in my reading memory include:

~~ The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

I read this way back when and it's an eye-opening novel about a young girl raised in Barbados who must move to Puritan New England, and the cultural differences that mark her as an outcast.

~~ The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
I assume almost everyone read this one in school, but it stuck with me because the unfairness of the situation was infuriating.

~~ The Cider House Rules by John Irving
Also a well-read novel, at least many years ago, it was well-read. I like that it showed both sides of the abortion issue, the disgust the main character had of the practice and the desperation of unwed young girls.

More recently:
~~ A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
A short YA book (which I almost never read) that tells the story of a young girl who must make a 2 hour walk to find water for her family and a young boy who becomes a refugee and travels on foot to avoid being recruited as a soldier. An important read to aid in understanding of other cultures.

~~ East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Just read it. Seriously.

~~ A Prologue to Love by Taylor Caldwell
This one, too. (It's often marked as a romance, but it's lit fic.)

~~ America, America by Ethan Canin
Highlights the powerful connection between the government and the media, based loosely on the Kennedys.

I could go on and on, but I'll leave it at this. Of course, since I read books with tough subjects, I also write them. A brief list so far:

Pier Lights: Professional loss, personal loss, physical and mental scars, mental illness

Shadowed Lights: Social anxiety disorder, weather devastation

Pieces of Light: Autism, failed marriage, family expectations

Shadows of Greens & Memories: Outcast stigma, family issues, dementia

Shadows of Blues & Echoes: Depression, long-term illness

Shadows of Rust & Reels: Bipolar disorder, job loss, family loss

My purpose in writing about these topics is the same reason I read tough subjects: to try to spread understanding and alternate points of view. I also believe in leaving stories on an upbeat note, and not everything I read does this, but I do. They are lit fic, but they're also happy/upbeat ending romances shedding light on dark subjects.

Do you read tough fiction? Share books in the comments that you think deserve attention for adding light to the dark.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Re-Start (again) AKA Artists Books Officially in Print

There's an incredible amount of work involved with putting books out in print and e-format. Especially when you're doing three at a time. More especially when you're doing it all yourself.

They've been a long time coming, in print, that is. But here they are, the first three Artists & Cottages books now available through Ingram, meaning you can find them at any book retailer you use, including your local indie store. No, they are not likely to be stocked on shelves, since, understandably, most stores won't order non-returnable books, and making them returnable could lead to a hefty cost on my end since all costs and risks are on me, but they can order them for you if you prefer bookstore pickup.

Now, beyond the technical details:

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Shadows of Greens & Memories

Francis Barrett returns to her hometown of Storm Lake, Iowa to take care of the family holdings after her father passes. While turning his garden shed into a small but livable cottage, she runs into an old flame she admired from afar but never dared speak with during their high school days. Using her secret passion of oil painting to unwind from long days of clearing out the mess, Francis finds her father also had a secret passion and left behind a tale of a man she didn't truly know.

George Frederick McKenry never left the Midwest town where he was born other than brief travels with his four children, who he now has custody of since his ex moved into a condo with her new boyfriend. Running into the one girl from school who rebuffed him when he asked her out, G.F. can't help checking on her and making sure she's getting along alright. False assumptions and past resentments fade as Fran and G.F. let down their guards in order to create new memories.

Print ISBN 978-1-948370-03-5  264 pages  $9.95  eBook $4.95

~~ ~~ ~~
Shadows of Blues & Echoes

Gillian Hart is an ambitious reporter for a small circulation paper in Denver, Colorado. When her editor and friend assigns a story about some rich businessman who chucks it all to live in the woods alone outside Durango, she does her best to fight it but gives in for the chance to rise higher and have more choice in future stories.

Hank Dennison wants nothing but solitude while he recovers from a life-changing devastation he has managed to hide from the public. The last thing he wants is another nosy journalist badgering him, especially one who knows nothing about survival in the wilderness who taxes his waning strength. He soon notices the darkness of depression weighing her down, despite her attempt to hide it, and determines to keep her off the path that led him to his own illness.

Print ISBN 978-1-948370-04-2  264 pages  $10.95  eBook $4.95

~~ ~~ ~~
Shadows of Rust & Reels

By day, Holli Jacoby is a jewelry artist in her hometown of Williamstown, West Virginia. Abandoned by her family, Holli mainly stays to herself, preferring her potter's wheel to the risk of letting others see, and take advantage of, the uncontrollable effects of her bipolar disorder.

Isaac Bradshaw is a welder who spends much of his off time assisting his parents due to his father's declining health. While playing pool, he notices a fiery brunette eye him as though she knows him. He soon learns "fiery" is an understatement, and his buddy warns him against the girl, but something keeps him drawn to her.

Despite their earlier crossed paths and a shared love of adventure, Holli's roller coaster life might be more than Isaac is willing to handle. When the bottom falls out beneath her, their relationship hits a critical test.

Print ISBN 978-1-948370-05-9  384 pages  $12.95  eBook $4.95

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Future blog posts will feature topics focused on the arts and mental health issues from the books. Time to get this thing jump started.