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Book Review: Hendrick Groen

This week you get a two-fer! Both “The Secret Diary of Hendrick Groen 83 1/4 Years Old” and “Two Old Men and a Baby, or How Hendrick and Evert Get Themselves Into a Jam”

I read Two Old Men and a Baby first, it was on one of the fabled B&N tables I love so much. At first, I wasn’t sure about it- bit then I snickered. And then a laugh. And I knew I was all in. It is a funny farce of an escapade. It does have multiple viewpoints and I will admit that about halfway through I stopped reading some of them.

The Secret Diary takes place after the Baby book, but was written first. It is in first person and told exclusively in first person. It was heart warming with a gentle humor- but I wasn’t snickering into my coffee quite as much. And that’s ok. It was still a book I’d recommend (otherwise I wouldn’t put it on here LOL).

That’s all for these two– I have lots more to catch you up on! This is the first time I’m trying to do this on my phone so forgive me any misspelling and formatting errors.

Ta, my Lovelies!

B&N: some thoughts

It surprise no one that I love a book store? If you are shocked… I ain’t got nothing for ya. Have you been under a rock my whole life? 3 out of 4 of my first jobs were in bookstores. And I loved them.

I got away a bit, by reading on my tablet. My Nook. And it’s ok for books, I like them just fine? Bit I absolutely can’t stand reading a magazine that way. It’s… Hinky. Too many quirks to it. And I’ve started reading a lot more magazines, so I’ve been visiting local Barnes & Noble stores. Well, one local to home, and one local to work.

My peeps, I am in trouble. In addition to the magazines, I am finding books, glorious ink and paper books that are a joy to behold! And hold and read and not worryabout dropping in the toilets or in the parking lot at work and shattering the screen. And in a time when connections are so precious, paper and ink win over the tablet

Although to be fair I am writing this on the tablet, so it is still being used.

Pre-pandemic, I would buy my cards in a Barnes and Noble, and some magazines. Now… Oh, they have tables with… Gasp! … Sales! Buy 2 get 1 free! Buy 1 get 2nd half off! And it’s so much easier to graze… Um, peruse titles in the store. Although the maze getting through Science Fiction and Fantasy is bloopy, it’s still easier to pick out a book than on a reading app.

(Don’t talk to me about the free books, and discounted pricing on e-readers. I know! I know!)

((and double don’t bring up the kindle. There’s a reason I’m on a nook))

So in the past couple of moths I’ve been to 3 different stores. The local one in Stockton is super nice, but they don’t have the selection I would like for literary magazines. That En Bloc I loved? Nope. Zoetrope? subTerrain ? Nope nada zero zilch. I get it, the demographics aren’t there.

The one near my work had more, but my friend when I was talking about demographics and needing a place that was.?? Hmmm… More literate? Knew exactly where to go! And I did find bunches there! And the problem with asking for the titles I want to read is… I didn’t know I wanted to read them until I picked them up. Some, I didn’t know existed! But being able to flip through pages? Get little sips of language and decide yes or no? Oh yes, yes please!

And that’s something that I missed with books too. I am a serial flip to the back of the book, make sure it’s a happy ending, flip back and keep reading kind of girl. (And yes, I’ll get back to reviewing actual books and magazines soon.)

Ah, books. I’ve missed you.

Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels

By India Holton

For Social Media fix, I’ve been going to Redditt lately. I started when I realized that all the articles/stories I was reading on Facebook started over on the other platform. One of the things I discovered, much to my delight, is all of the different types of readers and writers over there. (I don’t know what it’s called—community? Thread?) And people who love books tend to share the love with other people.

I am finding that I love, love LOVE lighthearted  Fantasy-Romance mashups currently. It started with Gail Carringer and Rie Sheridan Rose. (Go check out their books. I’ll still be here when you come back!)

I’m here to share with you one of the books I found through Redditt: The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton.

This story is a mad-cap romp. Celia is awaiting being called up to the high tea table with the lady pirates. Ned is… a many named, mysterious figure who has been contracted to kidnap, maim, kill or harass Celia. At least one. Possibly all three. And then there’s her dreadfully evil father, who writes (badly) and wants to subjugate women.

This has a lot of hilariously mangled literary references, and the writing sometimes delivers a heart-wrenching comment just as the laughter has escaped. I will admit that I might have enjoyed it more if I had read the Bronte sisters. But, Alas, I have not. I have read enough of Austen and others that I see the nods to comedy of manners, with a side eye to the skimming of the romance.  The pacing felt a bit off for me—too rushed and then too slow, until at the very end it settled back down again.

It’s a perfect book to settle down at the beach, or curl up in the air conditioning with a nice cuppa (iced) tea.

Momcation

I haven’t been by myself in a house for an extended amount of time in… Years. I always have my son (15) or my dad (95) around or coming back. It’s wonderful. I love my family. But….

I used to love living by myself too. I’ve always kept myself occupied– readings writing, television. I’m not one that gets bored and stays bored. The quiet is a friend of mine- it allows a moment of reflection, a deep sigh.

Thanks to Caltrans and my Best friend I just had that. A glorious Sunday through Thursday morning where I stayed in a house all by my lonesome. Caltrans closed the freeway that I need to get to work. (Not a work vacation, alas). My BF is travelling, and offered her house. I have to tell you….

It. Was. Glorious.

I wrote and sent out cards. I didn’t cook ANYTHING. Frozen all the way. And after work, I went to the real happiest place on earth, Barnes and Noble, and bought many wonderful magazines. One was brand new to me, called Oh, Reader and I read every single article in it. Which has inspired me– to do magazine reviews. Share what I’m loving. Maybe a few book reviews in there too.

The fact is that I miss blogging. I miss sharing the things I love, and boy do I love books and magazines!

I love my family. Of course I do.

But I missed myself, and didn’t even realize what had been missing in my life was ME.

One More Book

My son needs to read one more book to get a Library Champion lawn sign. It’s from Sacramento, not our home one… but it’s still going in our yard.

My son has read 15 books since Saturday.

My son, who hates to read, and has consistently struggled with it, has read 15 books.

Since Saturday.

I can’t tell you how proud I am right now. Although, I call myself a writer so I should probably try. It’s a Supercalifragilisticexpialadotious kind of feeling! See! Mary Poppins does have all the answers 🙂

Comics were the gateway, of course they are with so many boys. Once he started reading those, I knew it was a matter of time until he caught the bug. I’m not sure if he loves reading as much as I do, or if it was a competition to get the sign, or medal (there’s one of those too!).. but he did it.

I’m dancing in my chair at the library telling you guys this. I had to share, right away. Because… oh my goodness! My boy did it! So inappropriate for the library (the dancing, not the reading).

Lets hear it for the boy! Lets give the boy a hand!