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Robin M

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About Robin M

  • Birthday 11/21/1959

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  1. I took a break from Andrea Stewart’s the Bone Shard Emperor to read Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls which was an interesting read. I really didn't expect to like City of Girls so much and was pleasantly surprised. Vivian is an interesting character who is writing Angela to tell her 'what was she to her father." Vivian took us all the way from when she was 19 and failing Vassar to when she was an old lady and finally told Angela near the end of her story what her father meant to her. The supporting cast were an eclectic bunch and made the story. I laughed and cried and thoroughly enjoyed taking a tour of Vivian's life. She was happily promiscuous, enjoyed men, although it did get her in trouble a time or two, and had no intention of ever getting married. Nonfiction wise, I’m reading Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones as well as Dinty Moore’s The Mindful Writer. Finished Every Tool’s a Hammer by Adam Savage and got so much out of it, I want to buy the book for both my technicians and make them read it. Also finished listening to Drew Haye’s The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant. I totally enjoyed listening to Fred and found myself laughing out loud at his dry wit and his exploits. Loved the humor and how he managed to get into and out of situations. The narrator was great.
  2. I’m currently in the midst of: James Rollin’s Fantasy novel The Cradle of Ice in which the characters have crash landed in a place where it’s virtually impossible to escape from. What will happen next? Vicki Myron’s memoir about Dewey: The Library Cat which is so much more than just about the cat, but the town of Spencer and the people who live there. Devon Monk’s book of 22 fantasy/sci fi short stories A Cup of Normal which are far from normal and very entertaining. Haruki Murakami’s Novelist as a Vocation and the man seriously doesn’t think he is a good writer, but shares his stories, his process, and so much more.
  3. I'm currently listening to The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant by Drew Hayes. He's hilarious!
  4. I finished Amari and the Night Brothers which was a wonderful middle grade story in which I kept forgetting Amari was only 12 years old. She was mature for her age, continually bullied and not believed because of the type of magic she had. But she was bound and determined to find her brother who’d disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Also finished Writers and their Notebooks which has been sitting in my shelves for quite a while and would dip in from time to time. Finally read it from cover to cover, highlighting and annotating. Will be copying highlighted portions in my notebook at some point. So many writers, so many different ways to use a journal. I have discovered that one journal, a catchall for all my thoughts, ramblings, and stories works for me. Many thanks to Diana Raab and the many others for sharing their thoughts. Will be working on all the questions at the end of the book. Plus J.D. Robb’s Encore In Death, # 56 in the In death series. Don’t know why this series is comfort food for my soul but it is. Have read most of the series several times. Guess I enjoy diving into the lives of all the characters as well as the mystery of murder. Eve’s mind is fascinating. Her love for Roark is ever growing and it was interesting seeing how this particular murder made her appreciate their relationship even more. Diving into James Rollins The Cradle of Ice, the 2nd book in his Moon Fall series. “To stop the coming apocalypse, a fellowship was formed. A soldier, a thief, a lost prince, and a young girl bonded by fate and looming disaster. Each step along this path has changed the party, forging deep alliances and greater enmities. All the while, hostile forces have hunted them, fearing what they might unleash. Armies wage war around them.” For each step has come with a cost—in blood, in loss, in heartbreak. Now, they must split, traveling into a vast region of ice and to a sprawling capital of the world they’ve only known in stories. Time is running out and only the truth will save us all."
  5. A while back when my mom was in the hospital, my dad was being very I don't know and don't want to put you out sort of thing. We didn't give my dad a choice. We all said we are coming and will be on rotating shifts until he doesn't need us there anymore or mom is ready to leave. So, given your mama gut is worried about your daughter, I would go. Even if it were to pack up and bring the kids back. But I think she needs to know that her kids will be find without her, so she can stay with her hubby.
  6. I didn't like audiobooks at first either. I trained myself to listen with books I'd already read and really enjoyed. Those are the types of books I listen to most often. Recently started one I haven't read - Drew Hayes Fred the Vampire series and liking it so far.
  7. I think you can do it if you only take one or two classes at at time. I went back to finish my Bachelor's degree when I was 47 and it took about 5 years taking one or two classes at a time online. I didn't want to go full time since we're homeschooling and running a business because I wouldn't have been able to manage both going full time. I really didn't technically need the degree either, but wanted to learn and wanted to finish what I had started way back when. I took classes I enjoyed - literature, oceanography, art history, etc. As long as your family supports you in your endeavors, because you are doing this for you, then that is a good thing. If you want to get a job after all is said and done, you can probably make your own opportunities. Maybe start your own business. Depends on if you want a career or just want to work. It sounds like you are enjoying school so my recommendation is take one or two classes a semester, so you can balance it out with your home life. Whatever you do, do it for you.
  8. January was an interesting reading month with an assortment of books from magical realism to steampunk, to romance, to urban fantasy, to historical fiction, plus two non fiction writing books for a total of 4519 pages which on average is 150 pages a day. 1Q84 was a chunky read at 935 pages and took me most of the month to finish. Write for Life was the shortest but was meant to be read in six weeks. However, I just kept reading because I was ready to implement her suggestions rather than wait. I managed to clear 5 dusty physical books and 1 dusty ebook from my shelves and discovered six new to me authors. Reviews are on goodreads or on my blog. After Dark – Haruki Murakami, (Magical Realism, Japan, 256) You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty – Akwaeke Emezi,(Romance, e) Clockwork Angels – Kevin Anderson and Neil Peart (Steampunk, dusty, e) Black Orchid Blues – Persia Walker (Mystery, 20’s Harlem, dusty, 270) Kitty and the Midnight Hour – Carrie Vaughn (Urban fantasy, reread, e) Who Need Enemies – Keri Arthur (Urban Fantasy, Australia, e) Kitty Goes to Washington – Carrie Vaughn (Urban Fantasy, reread, e) The Blue – Nancy Bilyeau (Historical Fiction, England, dusty, e) Write for Life – Julia Cameron (NF, Writing, 208) 1Q84 – Haruki Murakami (Magical Realism, reread, 996) A Swim in the Pond in the Rain – George Saunders (NF, Masterclass, dusty 432) The Winter Lodge – Susan Wigg (Romance, e) Absolution by Murder (#1 Sister Fidelma – Peter Tremayne (Historical Fiction, 664 AD, dusty, e) For February I’m looking forward to the release (all preordered at the end of the year, so doesn't count against my buying ban) of JD Robb’s Encore in Death, James Rollins Cradle of Ice, and Samantha Shannon’s A Day of Fallen Night.
  9. Happy February and thank you for the thread, Vintage 81! I took a book detour and read Peter Tremayne’s first book in his historical fiction Sister Fidelma series – Absolution by Murder set in 7th century Ireland and was quite good. Also the sister was a member of St Brigid at Kildare which is grand since today is St. Brigid’s day. It was quite interesting to read the history about the Synod and the differences between the Roman and the Celtic churches. I liked Sister Fidelma and will probably read more of the series. “As the leading churchmen and women gather at the Synod of Whitby in 664AD to debate the rival merits of the Celtic and Roman Churches, tempers begin to fray. Conspirators plot an assassination, while mysterious, violent death stalks the shadowy cloisters of the Abbey of St Hilda. When the Abbess Etain, a leading speaker for the Celtic Church, is found murdered suspicion inevitably rests on the Roman faction. Attending the Synod is Fidelma, of the community of St Brigid of Kildare. As an advocate of the Brehon Court, she is called on to investigate the murder with Brother Eadulf, of the Roman faction. However, the two are so unlike that their partnership is described as that of a wolf and a fox – but which is which? More gruesome deaths follow and the friction among the clerics could end in civil war. Can the solution to the mysteries avert such a conflict?” Back to reading 2034 which is really good and scary. China has developed cyber warfare and are refusing to back down from their possession of the South China Sea. They have technology that wipes out all electronics and communication so the U.S. battleships keep getting destroyed. Which means the U.S. needs to go back to analog tech which some of the commanders are totally against because they love their technology. But the president is also threatening to go Nuclear which has caused a pause in the action.
  10. It's been exactly 10 years since I first read Haruki Murakami's 1Q84. I remember loving it then. Now, I don't remember much at all. I didn't love it, but enjoyed the bizarre magical realism. The story is about two characters who never get together until practically the end of the story. Both characters, Tengo and Aomame are flawed, far from perfect, and find themselves in odd situations. Aomame, stuck in a taxi on a gridlocked expressway, climbs down the emergency escape ladder on the side of the expressway in order to get to an appointment in time. Thus begins her journey into the surreal. "1Q84 - That's what I'll call this new world... Q is for Question mark. A world that bears a question. Like it or not, I'm here now, in the year 1Q84. The 1984 that I knew no longer exists. It's 1Q84 now. The air has changed. The scene has changed. I have to adapt to this world with a question mark as soon as I can. Like an animal released into a new forest, in order to protect myself and survive, I have to learn the rules of this place and adapt myself to them." Tengo is pulled into a scheme to rewrite a story written by a 17 year old girl about a girl, the death of a goat, and the 'little people,' and his life is forever altered. Murakami has a tendency to have the characters repeat themselves over and over and over again, but with each reiteration, you're pulled in just a little bit deeper in to the weird life of the characters which is full of symbolism with cats, and crows, and owls, and death. It's full of mystery and romance, with much to do about a cult, as well as a literary conundrum, in which Leoš Janáček Sinfonietta plays a big roll in the fusion of the alternate world. It's bizarre, but a good bizarre to say the least, but well worth reading once or twice in your lifetime.
  11. I finished The Blue and wanted to love this story, but i couldn’t. I felt like the main character was a victim of circumstance, never growing, naïve, going along while every one else around her - the men - solved the problems. The latter half of the story was a disappointment with Thomas being the one that did all the heavy lifting, so they could have their happily ever after. I’m still working my way through Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 (80%) done and on my second reread of Julia Cameron’s Write for Life and writing down all the stuff I underlined. The suburban has been loaded with multiple bags of books: fiction, nonfiction, and a bunch of homeschool books to take the friends of the library. Have been going down memory lane culling through all the homeschool memorabilia – what to keep, what to get rid of. We may be able to fit the car in the garage by the end of the month. Woot Woot!
  12. I succumbed to temptation and bought the Lee Child course on Writing Popular Fiction when it was on sale through BBC Maestro. Then a couple days later, another offer to subscribe for the year came up at 80% off, so now have an annual subscription. So far, Child has talked more about reading than writing. Read widely as well as randomly. Read that book that you don’t like because you’ll be able to figure out what was bad about it and why you didn’t like it, and that will be useful when writing as well. Every five to ten books, choose a random subject totally out of your wheelhouse and read it. Someday it may trip a memory and be useful to your character. BBC Maestro is kind of like Great Courses Plus except they have a select choices. There are videos on Poetry with Carol Ann Duffy, Comedy with Billy Connolly, Story Telling with Alan Moore, as well as songwriting, classic French Bistro cooking, Breadmaking, and winemaking,
  13. Our condolences to you and your husband. She sounded like a remarkable woman. Hugs.
  14. After Black Sun, which I could not read, I turned to Keri Arthur’s stand alone book Who Needs Enemies which was good. I like her writing. The poor character was battling trolls through out the story. She had remarkable recuperative powers. LOL! Got through vol 1 of 1Q84 and now onto vol 2. It’s not at all like I remembered it. I think I mixed it up with Wind Up Bird Chronicles. Thought it was time for something different. I pulled up dusty ebook The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau which is a historical fiction novel about a character finding out the secrets of making porcelain and the color blue. Enjoying it so far. I’m also reading Julia Cameron’s Write for Life which has prompted me to think about perfectionism versus procrastination. Is perfectionism the same as procrastination? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? LOL! Do we procrastinate because of perfectionist tendencies? Am I a perfectionist or do I just have a tendency to procrastinate. I do like to have huge chunks of time to write, rather than grab small chunks, as she suggests, so I need to grab those moments and write. I think I probably overthink the story to the detriment of the story, to the detriment of my imagination. I’ve been avoiding my latest work in progress, avoiding revising and finishing it. Why, I don’t know. Writer’s block or procrastination? I know the minute I open the document, I’ll change the same darn sentences for the millionth time until I warm up and wonder why I’m not making progress. Cameron would say, as she says multiple time in Write for Life as well as The Artist’s Way and all her other books, take it to the page. Do your morning pages and figure it out. Which I will, when I find the time. LOL! Just kidding. I’ve done morning pages off and on over the years and they’ve helped me work out all kinds of problems. It’s interesting because last night I watched a zoom conversation between Jayne Ann Krentz and J.T. Ellison and although they are seasoned writers, they go through the same self doubt with the beginning of every story. They both have new books coming out by the way: Krentz – Sleep No More out now and Ellison’s It’s One of Us coming out in February. I guess it never goes away and they just power through it. Time to throw my inner critic, my doubting Thomas in a box and lock him up, and back to the morning pages I go…
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