For those who love Young Adult Fiction, here are a few books to peruse.
Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel is filled with mystery and intrigue as we follow Lorrie Hollander, a young rich girl who all of a sudden has her trust fund cut off while at riding camp. Thinking that her absent-minded aunt forgot to pay the bills, she returns home to discover that her trust fund is missing. With only a few dollars in her pocket, she tries to buy gas and a drink only to discover she doesn’t have enough money for both when she meets Charlie, the son of a senator, who pays for her purchase in exchange for joining him at a party in his family’s home. What Lorrie later discovers is that her predicament and money problems are directly related to Charlie’s family. What begins as a rich girl gone broke turns into something much more…explaining why her mother left her and her sister behind with her senile aunt and where all of this money is really coming from. It’s an ending no one is expecting.
2. Mysteries of Cove by J. Scott Savage. If you liked “City of Ember” by Jeanne DuPrau, you’ll like this new series. Imagine a world where doing anything ‘creative’ is a crime and the word ‘invention’ is a curse word. Welcome to the Cove, a steam-powered city inside of a mountain. Why the city is this way is a mystery, especially to Trenton Coleman, who loves inventing and all things mechanical. Along with Kallista Babbage, they discover a mechanical dragon. Together they try to put it together and leave the Cove. What they were not prepared to learn was why the city was hidden inside of a mountain and why any mechanical noise was forbidden. When they learn why, it’s too late and it jeopardizes the lives of everyone inside the Cove. They’ve attracted something to them that was better off left alone. [Mysteries of Cove is a series. The second book was released last year.]
3. Court of Fives by Kate Elliott. For those who loved “The Hunger Games,” you will love “Court of Fives.” Jessamy lives in a world where a mixed race child will never rise in society. Add in every sexist thing you can of how a woman will never be equal to a man, and you have a good idea what kind of society Jessamy lives in. The Fives is a maze where various contenders compete in five different trials. Winners of the Fives live handsomely, but there is one catch. They have to reveal their face. It is because of this that Jessamy allows someone else to win, so as not to embarrass her father, a famous soldier who would be humiliated if he knew his illegitimate daughter had competed and won in the Fives. Things take a turn for the worst when her family’s patron (the man who cares for them financially) dies. The patron’s death splits up the family and sends Jessamy to live her dream of training and running for the Fives without fear of embarrassing her father, but she finds something much more sinister is happening to her family. It is up to her to save them. [This book is the start of the Court of Fives series. The third book will be released this summer.]
Disclosure: I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support my work.
I received these books from the publishers in exchange for an honest review and promotion of these products.
Hello, everyone. It’s time to discuss the first official book club selection for 2017: A Man Called Ove. Even if you haven’t finished reading the book, feel free to come back here and post your thoughts either here or on the Facebook page after you’re done.
Let’s start off…
The Book Club Questions
What did you think of the book?
Who was your favorite character in the book and why?
With the story going back and forth between present day and the past, do you think the progression of the story was easy to read?
Ove is a unique character. Did you find his character relatable? If so, how? Does he remind you of someone? Does he remind you of yourself?
Ove’s attempts at taking his own life fails every time. Do you find the failures to be purely coincidental or maybe something more otherworldly happening?
Ove went from wanting to die to wanting to live for today and fight for the people around him. What were some of those significant markers that occurred that made him realize he wasn’t alone?
The film “A Man Called Ove” was nominated for Best International Film at the Academy Awards this year. Did you get to see it? How did you like it? Was Ove how you imagined him to be? Did the film do the book justice?
What was your favorite part of the book?
I really enjoyed this book. It was very comical with incredible characters.
I loved Parvaneh. She was always right in his face trying to make sure that Ove did right for himself and for others. She was the right relationship he needed to come into his life. She was the daughter he never had. I also loved the cat. That cat was something else. When he walked in and knocked down the pills, it was like he was saying, “I know what you’re trying to do, so stop it!” I also loved that he went wherever Ove went. Who takes their cat everywhere they go? It wasn’t even Ove’s cat!
I liked the progression of the story. In my other book club, there were some people that did not like the way it went back and forth. For me, I liked that it would leave a little detail that made you question what happened and then the next chapter would explain what happened in the past. It’s a lot like having a conversation with someone. You are trying to explain how X happened, but then realize you need to fill in the historical context. I liked learning about Ove’s history as the author tried to explain how he got to be the way he is now.
Ove is a little on the weird side, but I saw a little of myself in him. How people don’t know how to change a tire mindboggles me. That was the first lesson I ever had when I started driving…you have to know how to change the tire on a car. You have to know how to parallel park. In Ove’s tirade, you need to know how to back up a car with a trailer hooked up behind it. Life for Ove is very hands on and mechanical. He expresses his emotions and who he is as a human being by doing things for others. He shows he cares by repairing fences, fixing cars, teaching people how to drive, etc. He is not one to be emotional or affectionate. He shows he cares by doing things. The man has a big heart, even if he acts like he doesn’t care. You know he does. I have a friend that says she hates people, but I find her to be the most compassionate person when it comes to people. She’s always out helping the homeless, her family, her friends, etc. She acts like she doesn’t care, but she really does.
Ove trying to kill himself made me laugh every single time he failed at it. I really loved that part of the story. The fact the fail happened over and over and over again makes it look like there was something otherworldly trying to stop him from taking his life. One person from my book club thought that his wife was looking out for him by sending all of these people into his life so that he knew he was not alone and that the world still needed him. I can definitely see that.
Parvaneh was a huge part of letting him know he wasn’t alone. Just her arrival with her husband and kids was a huge marker. The fact that her husband doesn’t know how to do anything shows that they need Ove to help them with ‘the simple stuff.’ Parvaneh needing to learn how to drive shows that Ove is still needed (like teaching your own daughter how to drive for the first time). The two girls look up to him as a grandfather. They become the grandkids he never had. The two teenagers made Ove remember the compassion of his wife and the things she did for the children. Jimmy didn’t have anyone to look up to except Sonja, Ove, Rune and Anita. Jimmy didn’t want to be forgotten so he tried to patch things up in a subtle way between all parties. Ove finding out from Jimmy that they had kept Rune’s condition quiet helped pave the way towards two friends rekindling their friendship.
I saw the film and enjoyed it immensely. They did not fit in the entire story and made a few subtle changes, but they weren’t so bad as to step completely away from the book. The book though was better. Ove in the film was exactly how I imagined him to be.
My favorite part of the book was when Ove hit Parvaneh in the nose. That’s when I fell in love with her character.
The PW Book Club is going to be a little different this year. I’ll be sharing Amazon Kindle First’s selections and sharing which book I chose, but separately from the book club. The 2017 book club itself is going to be based on five selections of books you can purchase now.
Those books are:
Here are the dates for discussion. If you want to sign up for the group, just add your email address to the PW Book Club on the top right of the page.
Each year, I try to commit to reading a book a week. That is 52 books a year.
With every book read, I reward myself monetarily so that I can purchase something very expensive that I really want. In past years, I used that money to purchase a very expensive designer handbag. This year, I am using my earnings to save money for my new home.
I created a reward system as a way to force myself to save. This year’s reward system is designed to help me save more for my new home, as well as declutter my library (both physical and electronic).
Make the Time to Read
This past year, I found other lovers of books reading more than 100 books in a year. While that is an incredible challenge to complete, I resolved to read more than 52 books this year.
I’ve heard from a lot of people lately how they are lucky to read one book a year. I don’t know what they are doing, but everyone should be reading more. It is important to keep challenging your brain and your mind. We need to always be continuously learning.
I am a very busy person, but I also make the time to read. It is important to analyze what is sucking away your time. I bet the main culprit are your devices. Put down your phones (unless you’re reading a book on it). Stop scrolling through social media. Stop playing games all of the time.
Take a moment to disconnect.
You can find time to read. You can even listen to audio books. I do. At the office, I’ll put my headphones in, find a free classic on audio and listen to the book. That counts as part of the reading challenge.
If you have some free time at the office, find an ebook on Kindle Unlimited and read up on a subject matter that can help you with your job. Many ebooks are 50-100 pages and are very quick reads filled with so much information on how you can be better at your job.
When you’re commuting, listen to an audio book or read a book. You can get books for free at the library, including the latest ones. You can even download library books to your devices.
There are many ways you can indulge in reading a book every single day. Seriously…you can listen to a book and play Candy Crush at the same time.
I would like to challenge all of you to read a book a week this year. I’ll be sharing my resolution with you in hopes that it will inspire you to read more books.
We should never stop learning. We should always encourage each other to become more educated, even if it is just through books. There is always something new we can discover in books.
My Reward System
So without adieu, here’s how my resolution works. You can use this as a guideline when you set up your own reward system.
Classic = $100
Library Book (i.e. free book) = $50
Book purchased in 2017 = cost of book x2
Review Books* = $25
Personal library + donated after reading = $50
Personal library = $30
Electronic book = $10
[*I am asked to review books by authors and publishers on a regular basis.]
You don’t have to create your own reward system exactly like mine. Construct your chart based on the type of books you want to read and how much you can afford to save towards whatever your goal is.
I put classics at $100 because they are considered ‘smart’ books, meaning, it takes a little longer to read. Since one of my resolutions this year is to minimize more, if I donate the book, I’m rewarded a little more than if I keep the book.
Finally, keep track of what you read. Keep a list of the books you’ve read in the form that is easiest for you.
I record my list in my calendar so I can see the date each book was completed. I also write down the name of the book so that I when I look over my resolutions at the end of the year, I can see what types of books I read for the year.
I also record the name of the books read on a pretty piece of paper…like a library card. I noticed this in the movie “Mr. Church” and thought that would be a cute idea to keep track of what I’m reading all in one place.
Also, since I sometimes forget if I’ve read a book before, I keep a notebook of all of the books I’ve ever read. There have been a few times when I’ll get 3/4 of the way through a book before I realize I’ve read the book before. I am not one of those that likes to re-read books, because there are so many books out there that need to be read and so little lifetime with which to do it in.
PW’s Reading Challenge: Books Read 2017
For those wanting to follow along with my resolution, here are the books I’ve read. I will be doing a review of each book on the site and linking to where you can purchase the book at Amazon. [Note: When review is complete, review link will be live.]
If I am able to interview the author, I’ll also put a link to that interview as well.
Happy New Year! Now that 2016 is behind us, right now is a good time to reflect on the things we would like to change about ourselves and put our resolutions into motion to create a lasting change in our lives. We should focus on the things that bring the best out of us.
Learning How to Habit Stack
I read a book recently that I believe is essential in creating successful resolutions, especially those tricky ones everyone fails at every year (i.e. diet and exercise). That book is called Habit Stacking. S.J. Scott offers 97 different ideas on how you can stack habits you would like to make permanent.
He shows how easily things can be done by analyzing the actual ‘habit’ we are trying to instill, creating a specific (and short) time frame with which to complete that task. He even shares additional ideas on how to spearhead getting each job done.
[You can download this book as part of the Kindle Unlimited program for free. Details are in the banner below.]
The way each habit is broken down, you can see how easy it is to apply those principles to your own life. For me, I saw how I could break down a blog post so that I would be willing to write more. The book gave me ideas on how to manage my time throughout the day to be more productive and to reward myself (check emails, play Candy Crush Soda, check social media, etc.) after completing each job. In other words, the book teaches you how to focus on getting the task at hand done by offering a reward after the task’s completion.
In this day and age, we are always distracted by so many things around us. It is difficult to concentrate on getting things done. Scott helps you see how you can create positive habits in your life by showing you how he does things.
One habit I thought was spot on for those who put diet/exercise as their resolution is to do one thing at a time. Don’t start off big (like trying to run a mile in the first week when you haven’t worked out in 5 years). Start off small. Do one push-up. The next day, do two push-ups. Each day, add one more.
Run one block. Go back home. The next day, run a block and a half or two blocks. Or if that progression is too much for you, do one block a week, adding another block each sequential week.
The whole purpose of starting off small is to create a lasting habit. It is easier to give up in the beginning because it seems too difficult when we are trying to make up for lost time on the treadmill after going through the great exercise famine. If you start off small and see how easy it is, you are more likely to create a lasting habit each day/week. You’ll feel more motivated to do more and maybe add an extra 5 push-ups at the end of your workout.
The whole purpose of breaking down each resolution to its bare minimum is so you can see just how easy the task is to complete. The easier the task looks, the more likely you are willing to create a lasting habit to make your resolutions a success.
I highly recommend reading the book. It will give you many ideas on how you can break down each of your resolutions so you can accomplish each and every single one.
I probably make this resolution every year for the site, but I definitely need to write more. I had to sit back and try to figure out what I really want this site to be about. I had to think of my niche audience. Truth of the matter is my niche audience is the film industry and lovers of books, especially those looking for book club questions.
I plan on expanding on that more with more interviews from filmmakers and authors. I will be sharing my 52+ books journey for 2017. So far, I’m on book #2. I will couple the journey with book reviews, book club questions (since that seems to be a popular search item on this site), and author interviews (if possible).
I’ll be sharing more tips that I uncover (like saving money, all natural beauty remedies, etc.) and ways to make your life easier. There will be recipes, travel and fashion posts. I’ll even share my own resolution journey.
This year, my main resolution is to complete my novel. It is time to put all of the finishing touches to it. As of now, it is a 3-book series.
I meet with publishers in May and June, but on a different manner (which basically determines all of the “IT” books for 2017-18). I’ve established good relationships with a few major publishing houses, so we’ll see how things go and which route I will take.
Over the course of this year, I will be launching a few campaigns. I’ll leave that as a surprise.
All in all, I have a lot of plans for PW, as well as for my writing career. I’m thankful I read Scott’s book last month. He’s helped me figure out how to get everything I want to do done from here on out.
Give the book a read, I think it will definitely help everyone re-define how they can accomplish their own goals. Dreams are always difficult to accomplish, especially if it seems too hard.
Break down each of your goals so that you can figure out all of the different tasks you need to complete. After you’ve broken them down, work on each task in order. You’ll find that it may be hard at first, but if you keep at it, finish each task, reward yourself, then start on the next task…pretty soon you’ll find you have reached your goal.
Disclosure: I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support my work.
Over this past week, I’ve been pondering what I would like to do with this site. My friends assisted me with the items they would like to see, as well as identifying the items they already liked about the site.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret…keeping up appearances for this site is very time consuming. I plan on changing that. My personal goal is to start posting on a daily basis. That means planning what will go up on this site well in advance.
Planning leads to doing. I started creating the content, cooking up recipes, taking the photographs, writing the posts and then began to feel overwhelmed.
As I was slicing up the pumpkins for the October recipes, I started to feel that pang in my gut. It was that pain of feeling stressed and overwhelmed as I was trying to do something right for myself. It’s that irony of the site’s name…wanting to be perfect.
I stopped what I was doing and re-evaluated why I was doing this. What was my current mindset? I realized I was stressing myself out and not enjoying the ride. If I didn’t change my mindset then I was going to end up with a bunch of crap meals. You see, I am of the belief that how you are feeling as you prepare your food is a direct correlation with how well your food will taste.
People who love to cook tend to make food taste incredible because you can taste their emotion in the food. I used to watch one chef create meals for me on a whim. I would watch him as he poured his love for food and cooking right into the meal. A simple fried egg tastes so different when such care is taken than one created with no emotion or feeling. It’s about passion and sharing that passion with someone else.
I didn’t want all of the food I was making to taste horrible, so I changed my mindset and focused on why I love to cook. As a result, everything turned out so well, my friend was surprised at how flavorful everything tasted.
Changing my mindset was all about reminding myself what I am passionate about and why.
I met with filmmaker Edwin Walker today for lunch. He is in town from LA filming a new movie. We met last year (see link to our story). There was something about the timing when we met last year. He mentioned to me that when we met, it was like a turning point in our lives. There was something about the direction our lives would take and the people we would become after our first meeting.
We became so inspired by each other to live life fully and passionately. Since we met, I have been trying to find my passion in life again. I only find that my passion comes when I write and when I am being myself and not focusing on what other people want from me.
You see, we live in a world filled with mediocrity and false lives. We struggle every single day to be perfect in our Instagram photos, Twitter, and all forms of social media. Reality TV makes people believe that these stories we see are real lives, when it’s just an act. We become depressed when we don’t have over a thousand friends or followers. We feel like we are failing at life when people are not following us or reading our work or we’re not getting hundreds of thousands of hits on our sites or Youtube videos.
Life for most people has become about the get rich quick schemes, becoming viral, and making a ton of money in the process. It’s not about creating a passion project and putting your blood, sweat and tears into it. It’s about the instant gratification, not the eternal happiness.
We have to constantly think of how to falsely entertain people to make you think that our lives are super glamorous, even when, for many people, it is not. People become superstars for portraying a life on reality TV, even though there is nothing real about their lives on that TV show.
It is like a drug addiction. It’s about that instant high that makes you feel happy for a moment, instead of working on what will make you happy for life.
People don’t watch real artistic movies or qualitative television programming anymore. They’re flocking to the latest ‘explosive’ blockbuster where it’s very little script, and more action with everything blowing up every other minute. The shows that make you think are constantly being canceled.
Children don’t go home and watch cartoons for half an hour like I did when I was a kid. They watch four-minute Youtube videos for entertainment, because they can’t sit through a half hour cartoon anymore.
People complain about the ‘long form’ on blogs. They don’t want to read a long drawn out story. They want glamorous photos with very little text…maybe one paragraph of text and that’s it. They want to see people living these lives that are so far fetched. It’s like watching a fairy tale or a soap opera. They assume it’s real, when it is only a glamour.
It’s depressing isn’t it? It’s like comparing ourselves to the Joneses. We try to emulate these people on a daily basis, as if that is how we are supposed to act and live, even though what they are doing on that reality TV is an act. It’s not real. People assume it is real and follow suit, like this is how they are supposed to act, think, live and dress…no matter how outrageous it is.
We’re supposed to get plastic surgery to be pretty. If you’re ugly, that means you’re too poor to look perfect. As one friend said, it’s what separates the rich from the poor. That is the culture we live in.
People sweat it out and diet, not for themselves, but to look and be thin and accepted. I mean, Donald Trump talks about how horrible it is for women and girls to be fat or ugly. If you are overweight or gain weight, you are called nasty names and meant to feel less than what you are.
When you look at street style photos, they never ever photograph fashionable women that are not thin. I know because I’ve watched thin, beautiful women pulled out of line at fashion shows to be photographed for street style, while the fashionable curvy ladies are overlooked. I have yet to see a single curvy blogger be selected in the slideshows for street style photos, even if they do have more followers than that thin, pretty girl that was pulled out of line to be photographed.
It is as if to say that X is the only thing acceptable in society, which then creates the unhealthy narrative of what it means to be a human being. We see what is on the outside, the shell, and never what is on the inside that makes each and every single one of us great individuals.
The narrative in our society today is about the false perceptions of reality. It’s the quick fix drug that makes you feel something for a moment, to make you forget what is real in your life, instead of focusing on how you can make your life better.
People don’t want the stories that help them self-reflect, connect and learn something. They don’t go see movies that will inspire them to be better human beings. They don’t want to see movies that will fix what is wrong with them on the inside. They only want those things that will help them escape reality, instead of focusing on creating a better reality for themselves and the people around them.
People focus on how they need to be fit, thin, beautiful, well-dressed, rich and famous in order to be accepted in society. You have to have thousands of followers before anyone takes you seriously.
I know there are publishing houses that have said that they are not interested in talking to you unless they see you have over 1,000 followers on Twitter (and yes, they do check to see if your followers are real or if you bought a bunch of dead accounts). That puts you into the 5% of people that do. That’s the 5% they are willing to talk to and work with.
Back in the day, when I was working with bands, each record company said they were only interested in talking to bands that had a following already. The artist needed that following before they would even listen to their music. This, of course, was before blogs and social media were in the picture. It was a lot harder back then to create a following, because they didn’t have social media to help spread the word.
What I’m getting at is this…
I’m glad I started talking about re-branding with my friends. What they were asking of me was to be raw and real on this site. Even Edwin today stressed that being real is what made this site unique. I was sharing the stories of people that needed to be told. These are the people that are living their lives passionately. They are living their dreams.
Edwin wanted me to focus on my passions in life. For me, that is writing, books and movies. In my universe, all of those things are interconnected.
Last year, I discovered that my main followers and readers of this site were the entertainment and film industry. I was doing something they needed. I wasn’t putting out stories or reviews like everyone else. I was telling the narrative untouched by the big dogs of the entertainment industry. I was sharing the art and the passion…the reason why people got into acting, directing, filmmaking, writing, art, etc.
No one ever talks about that anymore.
I noticed recently that a film short that is turning into a feature film soon has been publishing their poster with a quote from me from this site. I didn’t even notice it until I started reading the film’s poster and was like, ‘Wait…that sounds like me…’ and then I saw my site’s name underneath it.
I kind of did a little leap for joy when I saw it, because that directs more people in the film industry to this site. This site, of course, is not about entertainment news. It is about living life passionately. In a way, the site’s name is about me being that perfectionist in the same way all artists strive for perfection in their art. They are just looking for people to understand that dynamic and passion that went into their art.
Unfortunately, the art is always 80% business, 20% art. I learned that a long time ago. I’ll be honest, it is that 80% I hate about writing, because that 80% is what stresses me out all of the time. It prevents me from being me and writing more.
I believe that is the real reason why I don’t post as often as I would like to do on this site, because it becomes more about business than it does about the art. I plan on changing that mindset.
The business side is going to need to be something I am passionate about so that I can create. I need to ask myself if what I am doing is a true reflection of who I am, because truthfully, I am not going to share anything that is not true to who I am. There is too little time in life to waste it sharing the things that have no meaning. I am not going to participate in the mediocrity that has consumed the lives of the world around us. This is about being raw and real about everything.
What I do not share on this site is in actuality the side of me my friends have asked that I start sharing. They want me to share my journey in life. It is the narrative I don’t share completely.
You may think, ‘oh, this is going to be a dull and drab journey,’ when in actuality, it is quite surreal. Like the irony of sharing the Russell Crowe binge on the site is that 15 years ago, would you believe he actually serenaded me in Chicago, Illinois?
Or that when I started the Russell Crowe binge, Paul Haggis (“Crash,” “The Next Three Days”) had stalked my Instagram account and liked a bunch of photos on it? I hadn’t even gotten to “The Next Three Days” yet, and here the director was on my Instagram liking a bunch of photos on it. How is that for irony?
Or how about meeting fashion designer Malan Breton and just being so enamored with our conversation that I looked at him like, if I could talk to you for the rest of my life, I would be one happy woman? He was the first person that ever looked at me and told me right off the bat what my ethnicity was. No one has ever been so spot on. I think what was even cooler was that he knew who I was before I even introduced myself.
This is the world my friends want me to talk about. One friend said that I had always told her these stories about the life I lived. She said that she never even imagined how real that world really was for me until she saw how famous people would walk right up to me and we would have these long, drawn out conversations that were so intriguing.
It amazed her even more when she realized these people knew who I was, even if we were just meeting for the first time. This is the world she wants me to share, because it is so surreal. She wants me to share the gowns I wore. Others want me to share the fashion I wear on a daily basis. They want me to talk about the events I go to, because not everyone has that kind of life. It’s a dream life.
It’s about that VIP status. It’s a status I’ve had since my days in Washington, DC, where I could hear other society women complaining that I had what they wanted…status.
When I first moved to NYC, my boss told me that he knew when I was hired that I was known in societal circles in DC. He told me that if I wanted to enter NYC society, he would help me, but he warned me that it was pretty mean.
I remember thanking him for offering to introduce me, but I would rather go at it alone, choosing who I would like to surround myself with, rather than trying to be accepted by a group of people that seeks to destroy the people around them. In NYC there are different forms of VIP. The number one thing you need is money and being constantly seen in those VIP circles. After a while, you stop paying for the VIP treatment, because it comes to you for free.
You get the invites. You stop running around trying to be accepted by the in crowd or pursuing people for interviews by going through their publisher or agent. After you’ve established yourself, they come to you. You don’t have to pursue anything in life anymore because you are ‘in.’
That is the world my friends want me to share, because not everyone is allowed into that VIP world. It’s not always about parties, getting into clubs, etc. It’s about being in a room with incredible people like yourself and learning something from them. It’s about experiencing life in a new way beyond just attending an event. It’s about learning how the event came into being (like a film), meeting the people involved with creating this art, and letting yourself become inspired by these people and inspiring them by sharing your own journey.
It’s about the human aspect beyond the celebrity. The celebrity part…that’s not real, you know that, right? Celebrity is a false illusion.
I remember there was this guy who told me years ago he was famous. I told him I didn’t believe him. He spent the next year trying to prove to me that he was. I still don’t believe that he is, but during that time, it created a friendship. I never saw the celebrity. I saw him. I saw his passion in life and I wanted him to pursue it at all cost, so I helped him wherever I could.
You see, that is the true essence of who I am and what this site is about. I am drawn to other people like me, the creative types and the people pursuing their dreams and living life passionately. Why? Because these are the people that inspire me to be the person I truly am inside.
We are always learning from each other and inspiring each other. It’s about sharing our journeys together and helping each other in our own ways. That is the life I’m talking about. There’s the glamour on the outside, but the true essence at the core is what is more important. This is the stuff that The PW is all about. It’s not about just the glitz and glamour of life. It’s about the things that make us self-reflect in order to be true to our very own being.
This is about finding the true reality that is life. What’s on the outside is always just the shell of a being. It is not the true essence of what a human being is. It’s the glamour. In other words, it is not real.
It is the drug that makes you feel something for a moment, but never truly changing who you are on the inside. It’s the drug that gives you temporary happiness, instead of focusing on healing what is inside of you and finding what true happiness is, your eternal contentment in life.
The Goal of This Site
In trying to develop content on a daily basis for this site, and remaining true to myself as a writer (i.e. to write the novel, as well), I will be incorporating a version of the KonMari practice in minimizing my life. I am setting out to learn how to make things simpler so that I can post daily.
I am going to attempt to accomplish this goal beginning today. Along the way, hopefully, I’ll discover new and easier ways to create content without feeling overwhelmed (don’t worry, I’ll share my discoveries, because I’m sure that can help many others out there looking to simplify life). It’s that overwhelmed feeling that keeps me from being passionate about this site. I seek to change that, because this is supposed to be my passion project. I just need to focus on what makes me so passionate about it.
For now, I’ll be testing the water in new ways. There will be movies, books, home, arts, fashion, This Is 40, and more on this site. It’s not about what I think people want to read. This is going to be about the passion in life.
For many years now, I’ve struggled with becoming the person I know that I am inside. I’ve spent many years doing the little things to prepare myself for the big things in life. I always felt like I was just biding my time. For what? I did not know.
My Moroccan friend, Driss, told me years ago that everything happening in my life is for a reason. If I were to look outside the situation, my journey would look like a map. There were markers showing one point to another to another. That map was leading me somewhere…my path to my own destiny.
This past year, I made a lot of major changes and decisions. If I was going to be honest with myself, I hated hockey. I’ve hated it since 2012. The lockout and what the players did on Twitter sealed how I felt. I tried after the lockout to fall back in love with the game again, but ended up hating it even more.
When I initially retired in 2012 from hockey writing, I really didn’t want to have anything more to do with it. When my editor asked me back a year later, I decided to let go of the dream of having a family of my own (which is why I retired) and go back to the career. I broke my own heart and told myself that the dream to have a family is no more.
Perhaps that heartbreak added to the hatred towards the sport and covering it. A few months after returning to hockey, I found out I had a tumor in my parathyroid gland. I spent the next two months preparing for the worst, like my doctor told me to do, making sure all of my affairs were in order for the ‘just in case’ I didn’t survive the surgery.
When I woke up in the recovery room, everything in my life had forever changed. The story of my life prior to that surgery was done. Who I was after the surgery…that was the person I had to discover.
For a lot of people, they have a before and an after in their life. Usually some major traumatic event occurs and the person’s life changes forever. They are no longer that person they were prior to that traumatic moment. They’ve changed.
That was what happened to me post-op. I struggled a lot that first year. I struggled with memories. I had to wait an entire year before all of my memories came back. When they did come back, the emotions attached to them were no longer there.
The sisters of the Meditation Center told me that losing my memories was a good thing. I’ve been carrying a lot of pain in my soul. To no longer have that pain, why would I want to remember it? It should be considered a blessing. God had his reasons for wiping those memories clean.
As a writer, I needed to know what that pain was in order to write about it.
Moving In a New Direction
Last year, knowing I was very unhappy with continuing to be a hockey writer, I asked myself, “What do you love?” The simple answer was books and movies. So I decided to do that. It started with a Film Festival. Next, I attended the Book Expo conference for writers, bloggers, etc. I attended another film festival. I started getting invitations to movie premieres, talks, parties, etc. It was like this world accepted me right from the start and welcomed me in.
My entire world changed.
Hockey season started up again and I just didn’t want to be there. The reason I stayed was because sometimes you just don’t know who you are when you have become a certain identity. People see you and know you as a hockey writer. So what would happen if I were to change that?
I quit in March after the girl that had been helping me cover the Devils revealed that she had to deal with some misogynistic crap and someone tried to kiss her…and these people were members of the press. After I read her account, I realized, you know…that really sickens me that this happened to her.
For years, I’ve had to listen to assholes say shit to me about being there. Old guys would tell me I didn’t know anything about hockey. I could be eating a carrot stick and they would stop and say something nasty about my weight. I’m sure if I was model thin, they’d say I was trying to get a hockey player husband (and yes, I have heard many people accuse me of that over the years).
I was there to be a writer. I was not there looking for a husband. Sure, there were players that had crushes on me, but I was adamant about not being that stereotype that the only reason why women get into sports is because they are trying to get with the player. I rejected every single player that showed an interest because I refused to be the person people wanted to accuse women in sports of.
The misogyny in sports is very real. I just brushed it off and buried myself in my work. But then I realized…wait…this is why I truly hate hockey. These assholes have been saying shit to me for years and I act like it never bothered me, but the truth is that it always did. To know this also happened to the other girl…oh, hell no. I refused to be part of that culture anymore.
I was set to take over the spot at the New York Rangers, the team I wanted to cover since day one. I decided that I didn’t want it anymore because those same jerks were over there, too.
Turning down covering the New York Rangers was a tough decision to make. The Rangers have always been incredible to me. The last time they went to Europe to play a few exhibition games, they invited me along (even though I was the NJ Devils beat reporter). I was the only US based reporter that went along with them and the NHL. The Rangers were also the only team to reach out after I released why I was leaving hockey. I will always love the NY Rangers. They were nothing but good to me.
I did feel like I was letting female hockey fans down. You can try to fight the good fight and represent women in a culture dominated by men, but are you really fighting for anything if you just stand there and let the harassment happen game after game after game? What are you actually accomplishing by saying nothing and remaining?
Leaving hockey was the best thing I could do for myself. I wasn’t passionate about hockey anymore. When you’re not passionate about something anymore, you really shouldn’t be doing it.
A New Beginning
When I quit, people asked me what I was going to do now, thinking that this was the end. No. It was a new beginning for me that had been unfolding for over a year.
When I met fashion designer Malan Breton at the NYCIFF, he told me that he used to be a sports commentator. I was in shock. This man who creates masterpieces was a former sports commentator, model, actor, journalist and so much more. He made me realize that we should do everything we dream of doing. One day, as we’re going along our path, we’ll finally find our true calling.
Looking at my map of life and comparing it to his, I could see that our lives were quite similar. We tried on so many hats, just looking for the right fit that would define us. He helped me open up my eyes to see that this was only the beginning of my journey.
After I quit hockey, authors started contacting me to review their books, willing to do interviews. Before that, I had to seek them out. I had to talk to publishers, meet with the authors, just to get the interviews. I don’t have to do that anymore. They are contacting me directly now.
I got more and more invites to movie premieres, special engagements (like the 25th anniversary of “Silence of the Lambs” with the cast and crew in attendance), invitations to fashion events, art events, etc. I kept getting free stuff from vendors in hopes that I would review them.
Leaving hockey opened up that world completely for me. People were always conflicted about approaching me about their stuff because I was doing hockey, which is not what they were doing. After leaving hockey, they felt more comfortable approaching me. Trust me when I say, leaving hockey was the best thing I ever did for myself. It was a wall that was preventing me from accessing the world that was more like me.
All of this leads to my present
That person I’ve been afraid to let out, well she is currently out. As in, I stopped ‘preparing’ myself to be a novelist. This last year, I met a lot of publishers from various publishing houses. At year end, two had approached me to ask if I had a novel to turn into them. I didn’t.
For some reason, I had this fear of becoming that person I wanted to be (like most people). I was always preparing, writing for other sites and my own blogs. I was writing what I thought people wanted, not what I wanted. What I truly wanted was to take these book ideas inside my head and actually commit to writing the entire story down.
It is time for me to switch to writing books.
Last year, Kim Thùy told me that I should be the one writing books, not her. She loved my writing. That said a lot to me because I think her work is a complete masterpiece and beautifully done. When someone whose work I love tells me this, you would think I should follow through, right?
It takes a dream arriving at the right moment to make me realize now is the time. A couple of weeks ago, I had this dream that was so intense, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The story it told was just so incredible. The elements in the story were so intense with emotion, I realized I had to write this story.
I sat down and started writing down my notes in a notebook, transcribing the dream. 18 pages later and on my third gel pen, I had only told the beginning of the story. I hadn’t even reached the part where the bad guy is introduced.
As I wrote down my notes, my playlist would start playing songs that related to exactly what I was writing in that very moment. It happened again and again and again. You know what that is? That’s the universe telling you that you are on your path. You are doing exactly what you should be doing. You are on your way to your destiny.
As I got lost in this dream, I started to see that map of my life Driss was telling me about. What happened in this dream included a person I’ve been dreaming a lot about these past three years. I never understood why. Each time I had an intense dream that pertained to the story of my life (i.e. the dreams I remembered), this person was in it. I had no clue why he was in it, but he was in it. I just thought he represented someone else, because the story is similar to the story between me and another person.
When I stepped away from writing down my notes for the day, I started thinking about how weird everything was falling into place. Then I realized the main character in this book…his presence in my life goes back to the late-1990s. He’s the reason why I got into hockey. He’s the reason why I wanted to see the New York Rangers play. I was like…this is so bizarre. Then I looked at that map of my life with this new element and had to smack myself in the head. I was reading the map all wrong. I’d been reading it wrong for years.
I was biding my time and I had no idea why. Well, everything is now understood. I now understand the map of my life. I was becoming the person I was meant to become…a novelist. By starting the work on the book, making myself live in each and every single moment I am discussing, telling myself that ‘you must write for yourself,’ my whole universe has shifted in the most incredible way.
When I got the invitation to see David Duchovny, I didn’t RSVP. But then they emailed me again and I finally relented. I’m glad I did. He wasn’t there to talk about acting. He was there to talk about writing. He inspired me to become the narrator of my story and not let anyone else tell my story. I have to remind myself to write for myself. I look at these words before I write:
This is my writing mantra. It helps me to understand that when I tell this story, I have to do this my way. I have to fully be present.
Come as You Are
COME AS YOU ARE. That is what I tell myself. That is what it means to be present in the process of writing. You are giving a piece of yourself, so you need to be brutally honest with yourself as you write.
“Come as You Are” is also a very spiritual song for me. When I was struggling with meditation, this song came on and I realized this was God’s way of saying just come as you are. Sometimes I strive to be the person I used to be and get frustrated that I’m not her anymore. That frustration was making it so difficult for me to meditate. “Come as You Are” made me realize that God already knows my struggle and doesn’t care. I should just show up and be present with him, no matter what state I’m in. I’ll get to where I need to be eventually.
I’ve come to realize that the dream I had a couple of years ago about walking away from someone I loved dearly and watching his heart break was a foreshadowing of my future. God was telling him to let me be. I’d come around when I was ready. There was something I was going through and I had to go through it alone.
My struggles with meditation are about those inner struggles that redefined me after the surgery. The heartaches I was carrying in my soul needed to be dealt with and the surgery triggered that need to wipe the slate clean before it is too late. Letting go of the frustration helped me to understand that I’ve changed. I have to accept that I’m not going to be that perfect soul anymore. I am broken.
Writing for Yourself
‘Write for yourself and no one else’ is about making sure that I’m the only person involved in this writing process. In this day and age of trying to do quick, mass sells in the marketplace, we oftentimes get so involved with trying to figure out what other people want to read, we lose our own authenticity. We lose sight of writing something brilliant…something that will withstand the test of time.
The reason why Anne Rice became so popular was because in 1976, she wrote a book that had never been done before. She wrote the classic “Interview With the Vampire.” She is and continues to be one of the most prolific writers because she is very much a part of each of her stories.
Her stories involve something that happened in her life at that very moment. The struggles she’s going through, the pain as she works through each loss, sickness, etc., her books are a reflection of how she was living at that time. As a result of being true to her very being, she is one of the most celebrated bestselling authors of our time. Every book she has written has been at the top of the bestsellers list.
These days, I oftentimes see her ask what people want. That’s the problem with social media. People get wound up in trying to figure out what their audience wants instead of just doing what they want to do. We all get messed up in wanting to be accepted by others, so we try to give people what they want instead of just creating what we want to create and sharing it with the world.
This novel I’m working on is about my life post-op. It’s about a man who has lost his wife he loved dearly, and then gets her back for a moment. It’s about a woman running away from the abuse, because she is dying. It’s about death and how he takes pity on her and gives her a second chance. He gives her borrowed time. It’s about helping people learn to let go of the person they love more than life itself.
I think, in a way, this book is for someone. It’s to help him let go. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched someone’s heart break because they know you no longer love them. I watched that happen and there was nothing I could do about it. Those memories of how I felt about him did not return after the surgery. They never did.
I think this book is my way of saying “I’m sorry I hurt you.” The true elements to what happened in the real story are hidden in this story in such a way that it is supposed to help him let me go.
This is not the first book I wanted to write, but something tells me that it is needed now, not later. The other two can wait.
Diving into this novel, I realized that a screenplay I’ve been going over in my head (I’m up to season 4 in my head, need to get to a season 7) is starting to become more realistic to me. Last summer, I headed into HBO Studios for a seminar they were hosting. I literally had no idea how any of this TV business stuff worked, especially for writers.
I had accepted the invitation to attend the screenwriter’s seminar, because I actually wanted to start writing for Hannibal. Imagine my surprise when it was the NBC Executive in charge of Hannibal that was giving the seminar. Synchronistic?
I got from that seminar that Hannibal was about to be canceled. It didn’t surprise me after seeing the first 3 episodes (it got too artsy, I couldn’t hear or see anything…it was driving me nuts). But the thing is, there is hope for Hannibal’s return in a few years, but not to NBC. That means they’ll need writers in the future.
Also synchronistic was getting the invitation to attend the 25th Anniversary of “Silence of the Lambs.” Jodie Foster spoke about why she wanted to do this film and it totally changed the way I viewed the movie. I ended up sitting behind Howard Shore, the composer for the film. I almost fan girled right there in my seat. He’s written the music for almost every major film. Most recently he wrote the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit trilogies. I’ve been listening to his works since I was a kid and now he’s sitting directly in front of me to watch “Silence of the Lambs?” I swear to you, my universe is very synchronistic.
My connection with the film industry over this last year has landed a lot of crazy opportunities. The whole point in these opportunities is to learn, because this is a whole new territory to me beyond just watching a film. I’m learning about the ins and outs to the film industry, especially as a writer. I’ve met directors, actors and screenwriters this past year. The funny thing is we are inspiring each other to do great things. That’s what is so amazing about living your dream. You surround yourself with people that are living their dreams, too. They become your support group. You help each other reach each other’s dreams by supporting each other in our own endeavors. A lot of times it’s just adding whatever your talent is to the mix and being a soundboard of support.
There is something to that energy of creative types getting together. We feed off of each other’s energy.
When I decided to write my novel and complete it when the publishing houses make their rounds at year end, I started down a whole new path to realizing I was making my dream come true. When you’re on your path in life, you start to see things magically falling into place, as if to confirm to you that you are on the right path.
It’s like the birds are singing just for you. That is what it means to be living your dream that was designed for no one else in this world, but you.
The opportunities that have arisen over this last year for me was all part of the universe opening the doors for me to see that following movies and books was the direction I was always supposed to follow. Getting my name out there and writing about hockey for a few years was what helped me get my foot in the door when I began meeting with publishers last year. I kept telling myself that writing about hockey was helping me to become a better writer so that one day, when I was ready to sell the novel, it would make me legitimate and not some no name writer no one has ever heard of.
No one is interested in what I wrote for hockey, but knowing I was a member of the credentialed media, it legitimizes the fact that I am a writer. That means that the publishing houses and their agents are willing to talk to me. I’ve seen people with novels in hand going from one publisher to the next to be rejected because they didn’t know who they were.
If a publishing house is going to take a gamble on you, they need to like you right from the start. If you’re a no name who hasn’t put yourself out there to legitimize yourself as a writer, you’ll receive a lot of slammed doors in your face.
One thing I’ve realized as I’ve met writers over the years, they know when they are in the presence of another writer. They can just tell.
When I met Brad Meltzer last year, he looked at me and asked if he knew me. I responded that I didn’t think so. He replied that he knows me from somewhere but can’t put his finger on it. I just shrugged my shoulders. I had a feeling that maybe he was right. Maybe we did know each other somehow, but couldn’t put our finger on it.
I met Kim Thùy. She signed her book and then gave me her personal email to do an interview for this site. I was so surprised she was willing to do that for me. Our correspondence with each other during the interview surprised me. What I learned from her is to try and learn to write with fewer words. There’s always a way to say what you mean in more eloquent ways.
When I met Amy Tan when I first moved to NYC, I asked her about her rock band and if they would be playing anytime soon. She looked at me and said that when I finish my first novel to bring it by and they would help me make it better. I was like…WHAT? “They” being Amy Tan, Stephen King and Scott Turow. Those three are in a rock band together with a few other major American authors (like Dave Barry, Mitch Albom, etc.).
The irony in this is that I wasn’t even a writer yet. At that point in my life, it was just some far off dream. It was the person I wanted to be when I grew up, but I was nowhere close to making that dream come true.
She looked at me like she knew for sure I was a writer and re-emphasized that they would help me make my work better and give me helpful insight to get my work published for the masses. This meant a lot to me because Amy Tan is one of my favorite authors. The fact that she could see right into my very soul and see that I was a writer, that meant something incredible at the time. She was the person that awakened that sleeping writer within. I became a writer after that moment.
Now, it’s time to become the novelist. I don’t want to write other people’s stories all of the time (sometimes, but not all of the time). I need to write my own story, because truthfully, the things that have happened in my life that have helped define me are the stories I want to share.
This site was always about sharing the stories of people making their dreams come true in an effort to inspire others to live their own dreams. I just haven’t been sharing mine with everyone. Now, I am.
I hope you enjoyed this month’s book club read. I know I did.
This month’s read, “About the Night,” had us diving into a love affair between an Arab and a Jew right before the wall in Jerusalem went up in 1947. Two newlywed lovers are forced to find ways to secretly see each other, before it is inevitable that they have no choice but to try and move on with their lives behind their respective side of the wall.
Years go by. One continues to hold a flame for the other, the other decides to move on with life, thinking the other will do the same. For both, they share a special kind of love. This is the type of love people search for their entire lives. It’s the kind of love that carries one through to the end of their life, no matter how long they have to live severed from the other.
What did you think of the book? Did you like it?
Did you think this story was realistic? If you found the love of your life and were separated from them, would you wait for them or would you move forward with your life?
Have you met the love of your life? Could you relate to that special love these two shared?
Did the historical aspect of this story help you to relate to the issues facing Israel today? Did you get a sense of the racism and cultural differences between Arabs and Jews? Did it help you to understand the struggles facing an Arab and a Jew falling in love?
Lila is a woman with great strength. When life handed her lemons, she did the best she could do with them to keep on shining, even when they were tossed at her door. In her heartbreak, we see Lila rising above to help people, even if it wasn’t the popular opinion of the people in her community. Did you find her character an inspiration?
Did you think Elias made the right decision after he was beaten by the police? Could you do the same?
What were some of your favorite quotes in the book?
Would you recommend this book to others?
Feel free to leave your answers below, on GoodReads (see the link to the PW book club on the right), or on the PW Facebook page.
I apologize for the late selection for this month’s Kindle First selection. I celebrated my 40th birthday on July 1st and then went on vacation…just a staycation and a break from everything work related. But enough about that…about this book.
“I had a secret: I wanted to leave the earth in a spectacular fashion. Specifically, by leaping from the Eiffel Tower.” So begins this provocative coming-of-age novel about a teenage girl bent on self-destruction and revenge, set in the City of Light.
It’s the summer of 1999, the end of a millennium. In the mind of Nessa Baxter, a girl from rural Illinois, Paris is the remedy for all of her woes. The death of her beloved brother and the betrayal by her classmate Kat has left Nessa bereft and doubtful about her future. She plans to exact revenge on Kat during their renegade French Club trip. Along with classmates Whitney and Kiran, the four girls embark on a series of misadventures in Paris. As part of her plan, Nessa starts a game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control.
A suspenseful psychological drama, Midair is the story of a young girl’s descent into darkness and the secrets we keep, even from ourselves.
So far, the reviewers are giving “Midair” 4 stars overall, which is very promising that this will be a good read.
We will have the book club on September 15th.
For those who are new to Kindle First books, Amazon selects 6 books a month before its release to the general public and makes them available to Amazon Prime members for free. After a month, the book becomes available for sale to the general public. For Prime members, you get 2.5 months to read the book, 1.5 months for non-Prime members.
You can join the discussion by posting your comments below (or in the book club post thread on September 15th), on the PW Facebook page or in the GoodReads.com book club for The PW…all links are on the side. You can also sign up for the club by entering your email address in the PW Book Club Sign Up on the right.
Looking forward to chatting about “Midair” with you in September.
We’ll be discussing “About the Night”on Friday, July 15th. I have to say, I enjoyed this book so much, I ended up ordering a physical copy to highlight the beautiful phrases throughout the book. For those who have read the book, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
Last Monday, David Duchovny discussed his latest novel “Bucky F*cking Dent” at the New World Stages in New York City for Hudson Union Society.
Duchovny spoke about a side of him that most people are not used to…his literary side. The actor best known as Agent Fox Mulder (The X-Files) and Hank Moody (Californication) received his education from both Princeton and Yale, majoring in Literature. He didn’t know what he was going to do with his degree, except maybe become a literature professor.
Instead, while at Yale, he became interested in acting.
Now, he’s returning back to his literary side. For those who are writers, his talk is very inspiring and funny. For those stuck in a rut, it’s good to know we’re not alone, especially when a critic enters your mind of how you’re not good enough.
Here is the audio from his talk.
I originally was not going to attend this event, but when Hudson Union Society sent me an email saying I could go for free, I decided to go. You could say that was the universe encouraging me to go. I had no idea that this would not be a talk about Duchovny’s acting career, but a discussion on being a writer.
The main thing I learned from Duchovny was this…write for yourself. Don’t write for anyone else. Just write for yourself. Tell your story, don’t let others tell your story for you. You have an opportunity to be the narrator in your story and tell your own tale.
Looking at this site and my novel, I realized that sometimes I let my mind think of what other people want and what they want to read. I waste so much time trying to figure out what to write for other people that I forget why I write to begin with.
I shouldn’t care what other people want, because I stop being true to myself as a writer. I have to focus on telling the story I want to tell. I find that people are more inspired from what I write when it comes from a true place. People can sense your passion and admiration. It gets them inspired as well.
Writing from a cold place…one that is reporting and uncaring…I’m not telling those stories anymore. I am going to remain true to myself as a writer. Thank you, David Duchovny, for reminding me of who I am. I am a writer.
For those who are writers, I highly recommend listening to the audio from his talk.
How is everyone’s summer so far? We’ve been graced with this absolutely perfect 70+ degrees weather in NYC. With Father’s Day this weekend, I’m sure there will be a lot of feasting, barbecuing and I Love You’s all across America.
Here is my weekly wrap up of some of my favorite things that caught my eye this week. Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there. Kids, make sure to spoil your daddy!
Feel Good Stories to Read This Weekend
I always love reading the good stories out there. It really makes our hearts smile.
1. Some Amusing Little Things in the US You have to read this just for the laughs. It’s funny to read stories of newcomers to the US and how things are so different here for them. I always find it funny discovering differences when I travel to new countries. I remember learning “Take Away” meant “To Go” in Ireland and London. I remember standing there going, “HUH?” when she asked me about take away. Then I saw there was a sign up that displayed two different prices for dining in and taking away. Then it made sense. Take away meant TO GO!
When you ask for hot sauce in some countries, they give you some weird version of sweet salsa (it’s disgusting) [Prague, Czech Republic]. When you’re in Africa, wee-fee means wifi. In Ireland, there are XXXX number of ways to use one curse word. Believe me when I say within the first 5 minutes of arriving in Dublin, I learned about 20 different ways to use one curse word. I’m sure the woman had more meanings to it, too. I was just like…welcome to Ireland.
2. Bucky Fucking Dent. Need something for your book loving Dad this Father’s Day? Does he like baseball? This book came on my radar this week when I attended an event with the author, David Duchovny (you know, Agent Fox Mulder and Hank Moody). Who knew that this actor has a serious background in literature? That’s what he went to Princeton and Yale for.
Here’s the Amazon synopsis:
Ted Fullilove, aka Mr. Peanut, is not like other Ivy League grads. He shares an apartment with Goldberg, his beloved battery-operated fish, sleeps on a bed littered with yellow legal pads penned with what he hopes will be the next great American Novel, and spends the waning days of the Carter administration at Yankee Stadium, waxing poetic while slinging peanuts to pay the rent.
When Ted hears the news that his estranged father, Marty, is dying of lung cancer, he immediately moves back into his childhood home, where a whirlwind of revelations ensues. The browbeating absentee father of Ted’s youth tries to make up for lost time, but his health dips drastically whenever his beloved Red Sox lose. And so, with help from Mariana―the Nuyorican grief counselor with whom Ted promptly falls in love―and a crew of neighborhood old-timers, Ted orchestrates the illusion of a Boston winning streak, enabling Marty and the Red Sox to reverse the Curse of the Bambino and cruise their way to World Series victory. Well, sort of.
David Duchovny’s richly drawn Bucky F*cking Dent explores the bonds between fathers and sons and the age-old rivalry between Yankee fans and the Fenway faithful, and grapples with our urgent need to persevere―and risk everything―in the name of love. Culminating in that fateful moment in October of ’78 when the mighty Bucky Dent hit his way into baseball history with the unlikeliest of home runs, this tender, insightful, and hilarious novel demonstrates how life truly belongs to the losers, and that the long shots are the ones worth betting on.
Bucky F*ckingDent is a singular tale that brims with the mirth, poignancy, and profound solitude of modern life.
I purchased a copy of the book after hearing Duchovny talk about writing. Not acting, just writing. I’ll have more on that talk this weekend.
3. About the Night. I’ve been reading this book for the past couple of weeks. It’s the current selection for next month’s PW Book Club. I had downloaded the Kindle version, but then ordered the book when it was released to the public on 6/1. This was one of those books that had so many deep, heartfelt words that I had to buy one for my personal library. I wanted to be able to highlight all of the beautiful words that touched my soul. This is a story about an Arab man falling in love with a Jewish woman and then a wall divided them in Jerusalem. It’s such an incredible story. I’m only 2/3 of the way through it.
If you’ve ever loved someone greatly and then they were ripped away from you…you will understand this suffering.
3. Oscar de la Renta. If you saw my Instagram post of this beautiful necklace, you’re probably wondering why I’m wearing a necklace valued at $990 to the office. And then there are some who say, “HOW?” or “WHY would you pay that much for a necklace?”
RTRU is a great way to add couture designers to your daily wardrobe without adding to your clutter. For those who Kon Mari’d their wardrobe, you don’t really want to add any more items to your closet. Renting is great for those who have minimized their closets, but still want something new to wear every now and again. For $139/month, you can rent couture designer items (3 out at a time).
[If you click on the Rent The Runway Unlimited link in this post, you can take $30 off your first month. You can cancel at any time.]
A Better You to Try Out This Weekend
My Most Simple, Most Effective Productivity Technique. For those who are looking for ways to focus and get things done, take a look at this article. I’ve been practicing this technique. It is a challenge, but it will help you to focus on the task at hand so you can get more things done.
Sorry for the delay on posting this up. I literally forgot until this morning and had to smack my head for forgetting to check my calendar (and I’d written this down at least 5 times).
Feel free to respond in the comments below or later on this evening on the Facebook page. I’ve also created a space on Goodreads for all discussion on books at PW. It will also allow for a chance for everyone to get to know each other, to discover, talk and recommend more books.
Here are some questions for “Star Sand”:
Did you like the book?
Who was your favorite character?
What did you think of the book split up into three parts?
In this day and age, do you think if we were caught up in a war that we could take in and care for an enemy deserter?
Do you think if we were at war, do you think you would be able to live like the people of Hatoma Isle? Not only did they seem resourceful, but they looked out for each other. Do you think you could do the same?
Star Sand is named after the type of sand that is found at Hatoma Isle. Did reading about this little island encourage you to want to visit and gather your own bottles of star sand?
The brother echoed a lot of the war’s propaganda. This is something you see a lot of in most countries. What were you thoughts on the brother? Do you think he was right, keeping strong to what the government said was the right thing to do? Or do you think holding true to the human side was the right thing to do?
Do you think the sisters knew about the cave and what was going on in there?
What did you think of the ending?
I’ve posted my answers to the above questions at the Goodreads discussion board. You can find the Star Sand discussion here.
We’re going into the Wild West for this one. Here’s the summary of the book:
Two decades after the Civil War, Josephine Marcus, the teenage daughter of Jewish immigrants, is lured west with the promise of marriage to Johnny Behan, one of Arizona’s famous lawmen. She leaves her San Francisco home to join Behan in Tombstone, Arizona, a magnet for miners (and outlaws) attracted by the silver boom. Though united by the glint of metal, Tombstone is plagued by divided loyalties: between Confederates and Unionists, Lincoln Republicans and Democrats.
But when the silver-tongued Behan proves unreliable, it is legendary frontiersman Wyatt Earp who emerges as Josephine’s match. As the couple’s romance sparks, Behan’s jealousy ignites a rivalry destined for the history books…
At once an epic account of an improbable romance and a retelling of an iconic American tale,The Last Woman Standing recalls the famed gunfight at the O.K. Corral through the eyes of a spunky heroine who sought her happy ending in a lawless outpost—with a fierce will and an unflagging spirit.
We’ll be discussing this book on August 15, 2016. The book is available now for those who are Amazon Prime members. For those who are not Amazon Prime members, the book is available for purchase on July 1, 2016.
Just a reminder that Book Club for “Star Sand” is on June 15, 2016. It’s a very quick read, so you should have it done in a day or two.
“About the Night” will be discussed on July 15, 2016. For those not Prime members, you can now purchase the book (it was just made available to purchase on June 1, 2016).
If you want to join the discussion, sign up for the book club by submitting your email address in the sign up box at the top of the page. Details on the discussion will follow. If you have questions or comments about the book, feel free to leave them in the comments below or on The PW’s Facebook page.
I just finished reading “Mortom” by Erik Therme. I am like…WOW.
When Therme contacted me about reviewing his book, it was for “Resthaven.” But after I finished reading “Resthaven,” I was like…I have to read the other book.
Like “Resthaven,” “Mortom” is a thrill ride all the way until the end. Right when you are so wrapped up in the story and you’re really at the edge of your seat, you read the last words at the bottom of the page, turn the page and you’re looking at a picture of the author.
I swear to you, at the end of both books I did a “Nooo! It can’t be over.” That’s what he does. He really hooks you in. You’re at the edge of your seat and BAM! The story is done. You’re constantly thinking, ‘but what happened to…’ He does it to his readers every single time.
If you’re looking for something to read this Memorial Day weekend that’s filled with mystery, intrigue, edge of your seat…you have no idea what’s going to happen next…then this is your book. It’s a quick read. Try both. I really enjoyed both books. They are free if you are a member of Kindle Unlimited.
I’m obsessed with DIY stuff lately. My friend introduced me to Scrapbook.com and let’s just say…the best thing about it are the free classes! I just took the 8 Ways to Embellish with Lisa Andrews. She gave me so many ideas that I never even thought about…including a new way to journal.
I am a huge David Bach fan. I have been for years. A few years ago, he sent me a free autographed copy of his book. I was in heaven. What I love about David is that he’s passionate about teaching people how to live rich by being smarter with their money. He is getting ready to release his bestseller “Automatic Millionaire” with new updates. Until the release, sign up for his email list. He’s sending free downloads of his work. I downloaded a free copy of his ebook “Finish Rich QuickStart System.” He’ll be sending out free downloads of the “Automatic Millionaire” reboot soon. So get your name on his mailing list!
How to Stay Focused When Working From Home. Something I’ve been learning a lot about lately is taking distractions away when I’m working at home. It is a little difficult when you have a Maine Coon sitting right in your face when you are working at your desk. I was working on a communion card last week and right as the glue was drying, Matthew Lucifer jumped up on the desk and sat right on the card, completely smearing the embossed picture. He won’t move when he’s sitting in front of me while I’m working, so I’ve learned to just stop, give him some love for a few minutes, and then encourage him to take a nap on the sofa behind me or sit in the window. Once that is done, I’ll have at least an hour to work before the next Maine Coon disaster begins.
Looking Fly on a Dime. I just recently came across this blog on my Twitter feed and I am in love. I wish this site was around when I was in my 20s! I love this shirt she found. At first, she thought it was a dress! Ends up it was a super long shirt…and a cool one at that. I absolutely loved her $10 find. I love how she pairs everything together. This site is now an official PW bookmarked site!
10 Tips from a Professional Organizer. These simple tips are words to live by. I’ve learned recently that there is no such thing as multi-tasking. I watch people out on the street walking super slow looking at their phones, totally oblivious to what’s happening around them (like almost getting hit by a car). Schedule out your day with little to no distractions. Make sure you plan accordingly, including scheduling those few minutes of social media time. If you don’t watch yourself, you’ll lose a lot of time and wonder where the day went. You don’t want to be one of those people. Being glued to your cell phone is no way to live.
For those who are challenging yourself to read more, I wanted to share with you a few of the books I’ve read this past week.
(3 / 5)
1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. With the trailers coming out for the new Tim Burton movie, this story looked absolutely fascinating, so I ordered the first three books. I finished the first one in the series last week.
I will say the first book was a little boring. I think he spent too much time setting the story up in this first book, so I’m hoping that the next book really gets into the adventure.
I do like what the author is doing as far as these characters are concerned. Consider the first book the background that lays the groundwork to the adventure. The second book (so far) is starting the kids off on that journey.
(5 / 5)
2. 31 Days to Radically Reduce Your Expenses: Less Stress. More Savings. As part of a new series I’m starting here, I wanted to do some research and get some new tips on being frugal. I always like to stay abreast of what people are saying about personal finance and how to be more frugal. While I incorporate a lot of the author’s tips, I did learn a few things along the way.
I really liked her “Household Wish List” suggestion. I also tend to splurge during Christmas. While having a Christmas Savings Account is nothing new, it made me think that it’s not such a bad idea to buy Christmas gifts throughout the year, but also create a savings account for all of those big ticket purchases.
It’s definitely worth a read and FREE to read if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.
(5 / 5)
3. Six Dollar Family. What I love about this book is how it got its name. The author started off with $6 to her name, living in a homeless shelter to now on her way to her first 6-figures. A lot of her tips are drastic, but I was just so amazed. I loved how she incorporated her DIY for medicine and toiletries in the book. She takes the all natural approach to those DIYs, which end up working out so much better than the expensive stuff at the store.
I downloaded all of the apps she suggested + more. The way I look at life is that you need to bleed every single dollar…make sure you get as much as you can out of every single dollar you spend. Who knew that I could get double the rewards back if I use the Ibotta app and Checkout 51 to report my shopping receipts? You didn’t know either? That’s what I’m saying about this book!
She took being frugal to a whole new level. I learned so much and even bookmarked her website: Six Dollar Family.
A definite must read for those looking to save money and be even more frugal than you already are.
(5 / 5)
4. Resthaven. I have not put up my review of this book on Amazon.com yet for a reason. It’s because the detailed review will come from this site first. I also want to read the other book by Erik Therme before doing an interview with him (yes, that was a teaser). Note that I gave this book a 5/5 stars. Why? I got to the very last sentence of the book, flipped the page and did a “Whaaaaaatttt?”
The next page was the author page. I flipped back to the last page and re-read the last two lines and did a “Whaaaatttt?” Then I did an “OMG. I need the next book!”
Yeah…that’s how good this book was. I definitely recommend this. It’s a thriller and mystery all wrapped up into one. Loved it.
The May Amazon Kindle First selection is Anat Talshir’s “About the Night.” Here is a description of the book.
On a hot summer day in 1947, on a grandstand overlooking Jerusalem, Elias and Lila fall deeply, irrevocably in love.
Tragically, they come from two different worlds. Elias is a Christian Arab living on the eastern side of the newly divided city, and Lila is a Jew living on the western side. A growing conflict between their cultures casts a heavy shadow over the region and their burgeoning relationship. Between them lie not only a wall of stone and barbed wire but also the bitter enmity of two nations at war.
Told in the voice of Elias as he looks back upon the long years of his life, About the Night is a timely story of how hope can nourish us, loss can devastate us, and love can carry us beyond the boundaries that hold human beings apart.
For Amazon Prime members, you can get the book now for FREE a month before it is released to the general public. For those not Amazon Prime members, you can pick up a copy of the book on June 1, 2016. We’ll be discussing the book on July 15, 2016.
For those who would like to join the discussion, sign up in the PW Book Club email box to the right. Details will be sent to you as the date draws nearer.
For those who would like to join our next book club discussion, Roger Pulvers’ “Star Sand” will be discussed on June 15, 2016 to give people, that weren’t able to get an early release copy through Amazon’s Kindle First, time to read the book. Also, if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, the book is a free Kindle Unlimited book. The Kindle price is $5.99, paperback is $9.91.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them either in the comment section below or on the Facebook page. Looking forward to hearing from you!
This book is a war fiction novel that takes place during World War II. Here’s the Amazon blurb:
In 1958, a diary is found in a cave on the small Japanese island of Hatoma. Alongside it are the remains of three people.
The journal reveals the story of Hiromi, a sixteen-year-old girl who’d grown up in the United States before living in Japan in the midst of World War II. One day, while collecting star sand—tiny star-shaped fossils—Hiromi finds two army deserters hiding in the seaside cavern—one American, one Japanese. The soldiers don’t speak the same language, but they’ve reached an agreement based on a shared hope: to cause no more harm and survive. Hiromi resolves to care for the men—feeding them and nursing their ailments—despite the risk that, if caught, she’ll die alongside them as a traitor. But when a fourth person joins in on their secret, they must face a threat from within. The diary abruptly ends, leaving everyone’s fate a mystery.
Decades later, in 2011, a young female university student decides to finally determine who died in that cave and who lived. Her search will lead her to the lone survivor—and bring closure to a gripping tale of heroism at a time when committing to peace was the most dangerous act of all.
For those that are Amazon Prime subscribers, the Kindle First book is FREE. For those that are not Prime members, you’ll have to wait until May 1, 2016 to get your copy. Kindle First is offered exclusively to Amazon Prime members. Kindle First contains a selection of books picked by Amazon editors and made available one month prior to its release for free to Prime members.
Not an Amazon Prime member? You can join by clicking on the ad below.
If you’d like to join the Book Club discussion, you can join by entering your email in the box on the right. Details on the Book Club discussion will be emailed to you later in the month.
For those who are not Amazon Prime members, but would like to join the Book Club, the Book Club will discuss the book on June 15, 2016. This gives Prime members two and a half months to read the book, and non-Prime members a month and a half to read the book.
If you have any thoughts or questions you’d like to post for the discussion, feel free to leave the question/comment below or on the Facebook page.
For those wanting to participate in this month’s book club discussion for “The Light of the Fireflies,” you can find the discussion HERE. Feel free to share your thoughts of the book on the Facebook page.
Since this is the first book club, we’re making this open to anyone who’s read the book to comment on the book. So if you haven’t finished reading it yet, no problem. It will remain on the PW Facebook page.
Also, you can comment on the book here if you don’t have Facebook.
Here is the original Facebook discussion and my responses to kick the book club off.
“The Light of the Fireflies” by Paul Pen Discussion Thread.
My name is Michelle Kenneth and I’ll be moderating our first book club discussion for Paul Pen’s “The Light of the Fireflies.” This is an Amazon Kindle First book, so if you subscribe to Amazon Prime, you get early access to the book before it is released for FREE. On the first day of every month, they release a group of selections that you can choose from.
For March, I selected Paul Pen’s book. I’ll be selecting the next book tomorrow after they release their selections. [In the future, as we get more interest in the Book Club, I’ll let someone else pick out the next month’s selection.]
So on to the discussion…
1) What did you think of the book?
2) Were you shocked by the ending of the book?
3) When they revealed who the father of the child was, were you surprised at this revelation? Did you assume the baby’s father was who the sister claimed the baby’s Father was?
4) What did you think of the real story of how they ended up in the basement and how they attained their burns?
5) As the boy tells the story from his point of view, he knows his brother is just a little off, but never to the extent we see in the back story. Based on what is revealed in the back story, did you imagine that the brother could be dangerous to society?
6) Overall, what were your thoughts on the book? Would you recommend it to your friends/family?
Diary of a Perfectionist Wannabe: I’ll start the discussion off…
1) Simply put, I did not like the book at all. Generally speaking, the incest involved and the elements of what the brother did to that girl…just not something I would normally read.
2) I was shocked by the ending of the book. I think as a woman, I’m generally concerned for the safety and well being of other women. I assumed the sister was the victim in this, sexually abused by her father. I never imagined she was actually a very bad seed. She was just altogether evil. Did she deserve getting knocked up by her brother? Was that some sort of justice? I don’t think it was. At the end, when she is killed, I thought it was a saving grace for everyone. They were safe from her torment, and she finally escaped her family.
3) I assumed the entire time the father was the father of her child. I never even imagined it was the brother that had knocked her up.
4) I really didn’t like their back story. This family was absolutely crazy. If they had called the police to begin with, they never would have gone into that basement. They never would have received those burns. I’m sure the town would have taken into account that the child had a mental disability. He didn’t report that he had found the girl because he did not know he was supposed to do that. Sure, there may have been villagers talking about how the kid sexually assaulted the girl while she was broken, but they could always move and start over. Why hide the corpse? The boy just didn’t know better. The Sister, she was evil within herself. She would have been better off leaving her family, especially after the way they ‘saved’ the boy the way they did.
The next question is…would you have followed in their footsteps or would you have called the police to save your disabled son?
5) I was very shocked when I read what the Brother did to the girl. It was just difficult to fathom he was a sexual deviant. Then to find out he had sex with his sister…I have to ask how that happened. She seems to fight well for herself. Was she raped? Did he have sex with her while she was asleep? How did he do it? It’s obvious she hates her brother and always has. How was he able to take advantage of her?
If you were in the Sister’s shoes, would you have tried to kill the baby, too? Personally, I don’t even want to think about being in her shoes.
I also could not imagine that the Brother was a danger to society. Part of me thinks that the family just made one too many wrong decisions in an attempt to ‘save’ their favorite son, thus making the situation out worse than it really was. It’s not like the boy killed the girl (or did he)?
6) Overall, I didn’t like the book. I assumed that the reason why they were all in there was because of some nuclear attack or apocalyptic happening…or maybe they wanted to be rid of society that judged them for their appearance after a fire. To find out why they went down into that basement…come on. They were a family of cowards.
Would I recommend this book to anyone? No. Just because it’s not my type of book. A lot of people on GoodReads recommend the book, even though it is very dark.
This book is so haunting it will stick with you for life just because of the disturbing images throughout the book. All throughout the book, I kept wondering how in the world the author came up with this idea.
As we go along and make this a regular book club, we’ll change how the book club is done, so make sure to sign up with your email to join the PW Book Club on the right hand side. Also, as more people join, I’ll let others pick out the next month’s Amazon Kindle First book on the first of the month.
I’ll be announcing next month’s Kindle First book tomorrow.
For those who don’t know what Kindle First is, you can read more about it HERE.
The first official PW Book Club Kindle First selection is “The Light of the Fireflies” by Paul Pen.
Here’s a synopsis of the book from Amazon.com:
A haunting and hopeful tale of discovering light in even the darkest of places.
For his whole life, the boy has lived underground, in a basement with his parents, grandmother, sister, and brother. Before he was born, his family was disfigured by a fire. His sister wears a white mask to cover her burns.
He spends his hours with his cactus, reading his book on insects, or touching the one ray of sunlight that filters in through a crack in the ceiling. Ever since his sister had a baby, everyone’s been acting very strangely. The boy begins to wonder why they never say who the father is, about what happened before his own birth, about why they’re shut away.
A few days ago, some fireflies arrived in the basement. His grandma said, There’s no creature more amazing than one that can make its own light. That light makes the boy want to escape, to know the outside world. Problem is, all the doors are locked. And he doesn’t know how to get out…
For those who are Amazon Prime members, Kindle First books are part of your membership. You don’t have to pay anything extra. It’s FREE.
What is Kindle First? Amazon Prime members can choose one of six books selected by Amazon editors before they are released to the general public. Even if you don’t finish the book by the end of the month, it’s still yours to keep at no charge (i.e. it’s FREE).
If you are not an Amazon Prime member yet and would like to join in this month with the Book Club selection, you can try the service out for free for the next 30-days. If you take advantage of all Prime has to offer (books, music, movies, photo storage, free 2-day shipping) and want to continue after the 30-days, you are charged for the year up front (about $110 depending on your state’s tax). For those who want to cut back on streaming services, Amazon Prime is like Netflix, Dropbox, and iTunes/Google Play Music all wrapped up into one membership. It figures out to be about $8/month, which is a pretty substantial savings.
For those who want to join the Book Club, we are going to do a LIVE chat at 4PM ET on March 30th.
How can you join the live chat? Sign up using the email link under PW Book Club on the right hand side. I’ll email the details and reminder as we get closer to the date. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments you want to make while you’re reading, feel free to comment below.
Looking forward to chatting with everyone. Happy reading!
One of the resolutions I make every year is to read 52 books a year. At the end of last year, as I started following more and more bibliophiles on Instagram, I was shocked to see that some people read over 100 books by the end of the year. I could never imagine doing that feat. 52 books seemed doable, even though that resolution went to the wayside over these last couple of years.
This year, I wanted to make sure I didn’t just read 52 books, but that I read MORE THAN 52 books this year.
My method of attack is this:
Read 50+ pages every day. On the weekends, read 100+ pages.
While you’re at work, walking, doing dishes, getting ready for work, listen to audio books.
Once a month, do a quick read that’s less than 150 pages.
Finish books you started in the past, but never finished.
After seeing all of the different Instagram challenges, I thought I’d do my own to get people to challenge themselves to read more this year.
Here is how the challenge works:
Choose a Reward for Yourself. Pick out an item that you really want, that you could save for along this journey. Be it a vacation, a luxury handbag, a pair of obscenely overpriced shoes, a class you’ve always wanted to take…pick something that would be considered a serious treat for yourself. You should reward yourself for a job well done. Make sure this is something you’re going to enjoy!
Come up with a pricing system. This will depend on the price of the item you are saving for and what you can afford. For instance, I reward myself if I don’t purchase the book. If it was free, a library book, or a gift, I put away $25 after I’ve completed the book. If it’s a classic (a more challenging smart book), I reward myself $100. If it’s a book for Book Club that I purchased, I allow myself $20. If I purchased the book in order to read it, because I just had to have it, only the retail price listed on the book goes into the reward jar, and the amount I actually paid for the book comes out of the reward jar. Taking the money out of the reward jar to pay for the book is my way of making sure I don’t spend money on unnecessary purchases. The only exception to purchasing the book is if it is for the Book Club. If the book is currently in my personal library, because I am making it a challenge to read what’s actually in my personal library this year, I’m rewarding myself $50 per book completed.That’s the reward system I’ve set up for myself. As you can see, the books I really want to challenge myself to read more of, I set the prize at a higher price in order to encourage myself to read more of those books.
Keep track of what you read. I used to keep track in a journal of what I read every year, including the amount I earned. Now, I keep track in my calendar. I keep stickers handy so I can place a sticker on the days where I completed a book. It’s a good way to visually see my progress and if I’m staying on track with a book a week (at the minimum).
Don’t dip into the reward jar until the first day of the year. I’m speaking from experience here. You are doing two things for yourself…you are working hard towards a goal and you need to learn to save for the reward at the end of the journey. It is no fun if you get to the end of the journey and realize there’s no reward money there because you spent it already.For many people (including myself), saving money can be very difficult when we live in a society where we get what we want, when we want it. We don’t save for the future or save for something we want. Since I started the KonMari method, I have stopped the consumer cycle. I was literally overflowing with stuff. I vowed that if I wanted something new, I would have to save for it using the reading challenge. I’m not allowed to buy the item now. I have to work towards earning the right to have that item, so that I would appreciate it more in the end because I would know how hard I worked to earn that item.Keep the money in a safe place. Keep it safe from yourself (if you think you’re going to dip into the jar). Earn some interest off the money while you save. Just keep plugging at that savings and don’t touch it until January 1st.
But It’s March
Ok. I know I started this challenge for you to join in March. If you’re a bibliophile, you’ve probably already read at least 10 books this year already, so you are on track. If you are starting from scratch, we can go at this in 2 different ways. You can either: 1) fast track (and over the months I’ll tell you how) or 2) do this as a full 52-week challenge, let the challenge run through 2017 and you can access that cash on March 1, 2017.
Whichever method you decide to do, I’ll be helping you along.
For those who are Amazon Prime members, I’ll be making recommendations from the Kindle First collection. If you choose the same book that month, I’ll have a Book Club sign up where we can discuss the book at the end of the month. [Amazon Prime members can choose one book each month from the Kindle First collection. These are books selected by the Amazon editors to read prior to the book’s release date. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, this is part of your membership, no extra charge.]
For those who need to get their extra books in via audio books, I highly recommend Kindle Unlimited. It’s around $10/month to access many books on your Kindle device or app. Just make sure when you select the book to borrow that it says Read and Listen For Free on the tab. If it doesn’t, you may have to pay extra for the Whispersync/Audible audio recordings. What about Audible membership? Audible is $14.95/month and that’s just for one audio book a month. Kindle Unlimited with Whispersync/Audible allows you to read the book and if you need to put the book down, you can switch it to audio and listen until you can read the book again. Audible doesn’t allow that. It’s just the audio book.
The only reason you should have Audible is if you want a book that is not audio available on Kindle Unlimited. I used Audible for Book Club selections when I was having problems getting back into the swing of reading books again after my surgery. 2016 is actually the first time I’ve actively been reading a lot of books since my surgery in 2013. I didn’t want to give up Book Club, so I listened to the books until I got comfortable with reading books again. So if you’re concerned about not being able to read as much, seriously consider audio books. You can listen to them wherever you go when you can’t pick up the physical book.
The March Challenge
So here’s the March challenge. We essentially have five weeks this month. Your focus is going to read/listen to no less than five books. Here are the five books I’ll be reading.
For those not in a book club, I highly recommend joining a book club. You can find these at your local library or bookstore. It’s a great way for you to meet other bibliophiles such as yourself. It gives great insight into the book that you may not have even realized while you were reading. It’s also a good way to meet new people and make new friends. Books are meant to be shared.
If you don’t want to join a book club, since our book club is reading a classic, you can substitute option #2 with a classic or read what we’re reading.
For the Amazon Prime members that choose the same Kindle First book as I do and want to join in our own book club, please comment below, tweet me (@MichelleDoPW or @MichelleKenneth), ping me on Facebook, or tag me on Instagram (@diaryofaperfectionistwannabe). I’ll share the additional details in an upcoming post.
For those taking the March Challenge, ping me on social media using the hashtag #PWMarchBooks so that we can all find each other and share what we’re reading this month. I’ll Repost/Retweet, etc. so we can all connect to each other.
* For those playing catch-up, include a short book of poetry and choose at least 2 books this month that are less than 150 pages. If you can, try to boost your reading by listening to a couple of audio books. You can listen to these in the car, at work, while you’re working out, walking, etc.