Tag Archives: Harper Lee

7 books challenge….

I’ve been doing one of those Facebook challenges this week where every day you post a book cover of one of your favorite all time books and no explanation of why it’s a fav.

So, these are the ones I’ve put up:

 

This is a pretty eclectic bunch of reads, no? All of these books MEANT something to me and changed me in some way.

Books: they’re a good thing!

Upload covers, or tell me, some of the books that have influenced you the most over your life. I love to hear how books have challenged people and changed them.

When I’m not reading you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe

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Why I’m happy to see #2016 get the hell outta town…..

2016

I don’t do reflections. Not normally, anyway.

I’m the person who could care less about my Ancestry.com findings; the one who doesn’t subscribe to Classmates.com even when they email me that “someone wants to reconnect with you.” If I wanted to stay in touch with the people I went to High School with ( the admittedly WORST 4 years of my life) I would have done so without the help of Facebook or any other nosy Internet company. I don’t like looking at old yearbooks ( especially my own) and I never watch Oprah’s Where Are They Now series.

I’m just not into all that. I’m the type of person who likes to look FORWARD, not reminisce on the past. If you need a reason why I’m so bitchy about this, just look at 2016 for an answer and a little insight into why I feel this way.

We lost TRUE HEROS like  Mohammad Ali and John Glenn and ElieWiesle

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We lost MUSICAL ICONS like Prince, George Michael, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen

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We lost BRILLIANT ACTORS/ACTRESSES like Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Florence Henderson, Robert Vaughn, Carrie Fisher and a day later her mother, Debbie Reynolds.

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We lost LITERARY ICONS Harper Lee and Richard Adams

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Because of INSANE HATRED we lost 49 LOVED and CHERISHED Mothers, Brothers, Sisters, Aunts, Uncles and Fathers in a horrific nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida

We suffered through terror bombings in Brussels, Nice, Turkey, Korea, Germany. Political scandals in almost every country.  Olympic scandals from athletes doping to one American swimmer acting like a dope!

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We watched on the news the attempted annihilation of an entire country and people in Aleppo.

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We heard words that sent our minds into panic-mode. Words like Zika Virus, Ebola, Suicide bomber, Refugee crisis, Brexit, Pokeman-Go (!)

Yahoo was hacked. The DNC was hacked. Hillary was called a hack. Trump acts like one.

Earthquakes, floods, plague and pestilence. War, famine, poverty and murder.

No, 2016 is not a year I will remember fondly.  I’ll be very happy at midnight on 1/1/17.

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When I’m not complaining you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

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Let’s have dinner…Who should we invite?

I saw this question on a blog recently:  what Literary character(s) would you like to have dinner with and why?

This is a great question to actually ask at a dinner party. Responses can be all over the board depending on how well-read your guests are and what age. I can see people in their very early twenties wanting to break bread with Katniss Everdeen or Ron Weasley. My literary tastes are somewhat more dated.

First and foremost, I’d like to sit next to Elizabeth Bennet, because I’d like to ask her to truthfully tell me, once and for all, did she fall in love with Darcy for Darcy, or for Pemberley? I’ve always been a little suspicious she really did love Darcy and that her opinions of him could change so abruptly just because he helped Lydia and the Bennet family. What, exactly, made her see him in such a different light, from the first time they were introduced, Pemberley aside?

I’d like to sit down next to Scarlett O’Hara and smack her in the head. What was she thinking? Here she’s got the original bad boy himself, Rhett Butler, all but drooling after he and she wants nothing to do with him. She pines for Ashley Wilkes, one of the most boring characters ever penned, and doesn’t see the hunkadoodle right in front of her pixie little face. What gives, Scarlett?

Breaking bread with Atticus Finch would be memorable. I’d really like to know how he came to be such a liberal thinker in a surrounding chock full of uber-moralistic and conservative viewpoints on race, color, and gender. I’d like to discuss his upbringing and ask about his parents. Did their opinions and beliefs help form him to be the man he was, or was there some internal moral compass driving him?

Sherlock Holmes is such a fascinating character that there are no fewer than three television shows devoted to him at the present time. In an age where police work was in its infancy, his brain and desire for truth at any cost can be viewed either in a positive light, or as the most simplistic narcissism imaginable. He truly believed he was the smartest man in any room, hands down. Humility didn’t exist in his vocabulary. I would love to discuss his toilet training, to discern where his total control evolved from.

Nancy Drew was the coolest character I ever read when I was 10. I wanted to be beautiful and smart like her, drive a Corvair, and just have everyone love me. She had the neatest dad, the handsomest boyfriend and the most loyal friends – in truth, she had everything I didn’t. I’d like to ask her how it felt to be so perfect. And I’d really like to hear her tell me she was far from it!

Jane Eyre. The original drama queen. Tragedy and misery follows poor, plain Jane everywhere she goes. A lousy childhood morphs into an oppressive adolescence that ends in a pitiable adulthood. Even the guy she pines for is a pain in the neck. I’d like to talk to her and ascertain if she’s one of those people who simply thrive on the drama. A day can’t pass without some sort of emotional deluge. 

Holly Golightly seems to be the girl you’d love to sit next to at dinner. Witty, bright and light conversation would abound from her and I’m sure if you were a man she’d make you feel as if you were the only one in her sphere. She is named so perfectly – go-lightly – which is how she flits through life, moving without stopping or settling down, flitting from person to person, relationship to relationship. I’d probably ask her about her toilet training as well. That fear of not holding on to anything or anyone had to come from somewhere!

Madeline. Ah, sweet Madeline. Never having attended one, I’d really like the low down dirt on what it’s like to live in a boarding school. You hear so many unseemly things about them, such as the abuse, the sexual escapades, the bullying. Did our poor, little Parisian girl go through any of these things? Or was life really how it was written for her – all unicorns, butterflies, and sunbeams? And what about Miss Clavel? There’s a hidden understory there and I’m just dying to know it!

Truly, if I sat next to any of the folks at a dinner, I don’t think I’d touch a bit of food. They’re all fascinating in totally individual and diverse ways.

How about you? Who would you like to break bead with if you could?

 

 

 

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Titles…

Someone asked me the other day how I come up with the titles to my stories and novels.  They are all different and don’t really follow a common thread. Book titles, I feel, are like your children’s names: you want them to be unique, but not so unique they become albatrosses or points of ridicule. I discovered through research  (okay, through Google!) there is an entire industry devoted just to this: how to pick the correct words to capture a reader from the get-go; the word combinations never to use in a title; the words that have the most impact on sales.

I know some writers who use song titles for their books and expound on them in the story.  I love this idea. I know another author who writes down every combination of a phrase based on what the book is about until the perfect title presents itself. I also love this idea.  Some experts say never to have more than one word or two at the most in the title so that it grabs the reader’s attention.  Long winded names can be turn offs to people glancing at the book rack in Barnes and Noble. The key, advertising executives always say, is “short, punchy, and memorable.”The original working titles for my favorite all time book, Gone With The Wind, were Tomorrow is another day and Ba! Ba! Black Sheep.

Now would GWTW have been such a mega hit if it had one of those titles? Who knows. I certainly don’t think the movie would have done as well with the sheep title, do you?

To Kill a Mockingbird was called Atticus before Harper Lee – thankfully – changed it.

And my favorite title change – more about why in a bit – was Pride and Prejudice. Austen originally called it First Impressions.

Now my titles are usually the first thing that pops into my head when I’m working a new plot through. I don’t try to be cute or fancy or erudite. I just “see” the title in my head, and that’s it for me. I’ve never had an editor or even a reader tell me the work was mis-named or would have been better suited to some other title. Maybe this is arrogant on my part, and okay, I’ll agree with that. They are, after all, MY titles. But again, just like when  you name a child, you want the title/name to be a reflection of your thought and love. You want it to be able to convey something of what the book is about when you are trying to capture a potential reader’s attention. Skater’s Waltz has two words and is actually a piece of music. There’s No place Like Home, has 5 and it’s a sentence in one of my favorite movies, The Wizard of Oz. My third book, which I am thrilled to announce just went to contract, is First Impressions. See now why I like that Austen changed her title?

Titles are like names. They should be individual, coherent, and special. They should capture a reader’s attention and their desire to want to read more. Think of your favorite book titles. Do they fit in with this thought? I know mine do.

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The 10 Book Challenge

Recently on Facebook, I’ve seen several posts about people who have been challenged by friends and family to list 10 books that changed their lives. No one has challenged me, but I think this is a great blog topic, so here goes.

The 10 books that have had a profound impact on me during my life are – in no particular order:

1. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. Best book about self actualization ever written.

2. The Wizard of Oz ( Dorothy’ Adventures in Oz)  by Frank L Baum. Because there really is no place like home.

3. Irish Thoroughbred by Nora Roberts. First Nora I ever read. This story and this writer gave me my love of romantic fiction.

4. Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss.  First romance with actual sex in it I ever read. Quite an education, in addition to being a great story.

5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey. Helped me focus on the goals I wanted to attain during my lifetime.

6. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. In my opinion, the most perfect book ever written.

7. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. As a child raised in the 1960’s and 70’s, this book brought home the meaning of racial inequality like no other to me.

8.  The Oxford American Dictionary. Hello! It’s filled with WORDS!! Fabulous words!!

9. The Bible. This one needs no explanation.

10. Become a Better You by Joel Osteen. This book really did help make me a better person.

So, what are the books that have influenced you?

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