Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Category: New Reads Page 1 of 17

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: New Read

Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird – Some Instructions on Writing and Life” is flooring me.

“Left to its own devices, my mind spends much of its time having conversations with people who aren’t there. I walk along defending myself to people, or exchanging repartee with them, or rationalizing my behavior, or seducing them with gossip, or pretending I’m on their TV talk show or whatever.”

I’m not alone in the world!

Well, I did it again. I added this book to my TBR list, and I cannot for the life of me remember where I got it. Ugg! So frustrating!

What’s crazy is that it is so recently that I added it. I saw the post in my WordPress Reader, someone I follow, and I could have sworn that I saved it. I know from my history that I looked up the book on Amazon on October 17.

I’ve spent literally the last thirty minutes searching for the blog post. Ahh!

Deep breath.

So…whoever it was that writes the blog that recommended this book (there were others from that post that I added to my TBR list as well) …THANK YOU! I’ve never read any of Anne Lamott’s books and now I must. This book on writing…it’s like my soul is shared by another.

A couple weeks ago, I was at Barnes & Noble (just browsing…I swear) when this book jumped out at me. I knew I’d seen it before, so I scanned my Amazon wish list and there it was. I took it as a sign and brought it home with me.

I just clicked over to that wish list to double check, maybe I wrote the source in the comments? No such luck.

Here’s the thing. I take great pride in knowing where things are. I believe myself to be fairly organized. When I find evidence that I’m not as meticulous as I thought… well… It’s like a glitch has been found and I just can’t stand it. I can’t go back in time now, so I’m moving on…again.

I’m already a couple chapters into this baby and I’m certain that she just saved my life by writing it.

“Saved your life, Michelle? Really? Dramatic much?”

Yes. It’s my nature. Everything is so much more interesting if you add a bit of flare. I was sliding down into the depths, considering throwing in the towel (not my Douglas Adams towel, that stays). Writing clearly isn’t for me. I’ve been at it for several years with no results!

Several years. Results. (rolls on the floor laughing)

This book (and quite a few blog posts lately) has reminded me that this is my art, the thing I do because I feel compelled to, and the only results I need to look for are the ones that quiet my noise, calm my heart, and make me smile.

Still using Bookly to track!

“But I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do – the actual act of writing – turns out to be the best part.”

From now on… How many times have I said this? Don’t answer. Please!

I’m bringing a notebook with me EVERYWHERE so that I can write down books and where I got the idea to read them. AND I’m going to start writing down the stories that I make up in my head. The conversation that I wish I had had with the butcher. What I’d like to say to the road workers. The funny I thought when I picked up that item at the store. The imaginary scenario I made up about why someone never answered my text.

That’s how I’ll quiet the noise and get focused. I’ll take all those stories, capture them on paper, and file them away for later use.

I’m just getting started.

Have you read “Bird By Bird” by Anne Lamott? Any of her other work? I’d love to hear from you!

The Cider House Rules: New Read

“The Cider House Rules” looks so innocent. A small paperback novel, one that a great movie was based on, sits upon my TBR shelf. It was bought from an unexpected used bookstore at the Moreno Valley Mall called The Dollar Bookfair, recently. $1 for, what now looks like is going to be, nearly twelve hours of beautifully written entertainment.

I didn’t realize that John Irving’s book, written in 1985 was going to be such a complicated read when I picked it up, but I’m loving his style something fierce.

A few months ago, I watched the movie for the first time. I know…twenty years late. I’ve seen the trailers, always looked like it would be a great story, and it has some of my favorite actors in it. Why did I never watch it? Probably because it came out right as I got married, was busy with work, and then kids. I haven’t had time for dramatic movies that kids can’t sit through.

But I do now!

I didn’t rush to put the book the movie was based on on my TBR list because it was a fine movie. I didn’t feel like I was missing anything, but when I saw it on the shelf at the Dollar Bookfair for $1, I had to have it. Why not?

I thought this would be a 50-page-per-hour book, like many novels are, but it’s turning out to be half that. The language, the descriptions of place and character are just so beautiful that I can’t rush through.

The story is not easy emotionally either. There’s a lot of pain to get through, but luckily, since I’ve seen the movie, I know that there is a lot of beauty and joy as well. The story reflects life. Nothing is easy and straightforward. The bitter makes the sweet so much more rich.

So here I am, diving in. I’m predicting fifteen days to finish this book. We’ll see. Have you read The Cider House Rules? Seen the movie? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King: New Read

I’ve succumbed to PEER PRESSURE and decided to read ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King in the spirit of the season!

'Salem's Lot

Another new read, Michelle? Really?

Hey, I’m only reporting on what’s going on around here. Don’t blame the messenger!

What can I say? I read a lot.

It irritates me when I become a follower, but so many book bloggers and “bookstagrammers” on Instagram were posting about Halloween reads that I decided to go with the flow and pick up “‘Salem’s Lot” off my TBR shelf. I bought it several months ago but was pretty burned out on Stephen King at the time, so I had set it aside for other (shorter and less terrifying) things.

The time has come to crack open this gargantuan paperback and peek inside. I’ve never read it before, and I know there was an old tv miniseries based on the book but I’ve never seen it. Now it looks like there will be a new movie coming out next year. Looks like a recurring theme, doesn’t it? Didn’t we just go through this with “The Stand?”

“‘Salem’s Lot” was first published in 1975, only three years after yours truly was born, and his second novel. I didn’t know this until I picked the book up off my shelf, (Yes, I bought it without really knowing what it was about. It’s Stephen King and one of his first. I need no other enticement.) but this book is about VAMPIRES! I love vampire stories! Why have I not read this before? Weird.

As you can probably tell, I’m excited to dive into this novel. Yesterday’s read brought me 94 pages in and I’m making very few notes. I usually read with pencil in hand to mark passages that I feel are particularly enlightening, but King writes differently. It’s not a stand-alone sentence or paragraph that makes you go, “Hmm…” It’s his timing and build-up. He creeps in there over pages and pages of words that you might think are extra. I mean, please, do we need to describe everything?!

Apparently, yes, we do, because you’re reading along and then you get a chill, you realize you haven’t taken a breath in a page, maybe two, your heart starts to speed up, and then he backs away again, only to creep up on the horror a few pages later and catch you by surprise. This is going to be so much fun.

My Analog Reading Log

I think I’ve mentioned it before in one of my annual reading summary posts that I keep a log of what I’m reading and when. It’s a paper book (because I’m all about analog) and each January I make up a statistics report about how many books I’ve read, what kind, how much time I spent, and how many pages. I know you’re wondering, “Why?!” Because I have a very strange sense of fun and this pleases me immensely!

Bookly App Screenshot

This past week I decided to try using the Bookly app to track because I heard that it makes pretty reports. These are the things that bring me joy! This is what I have so far, but when I finish the book, it will make a sweet little graphic of all the details and I can share it here and be proud of myself. I’m THAT kind of crazy.

For the time being, I’m logging in my paper book AND on the app. It remains to be seen whether I will keep using both. I’ll probably go back to the analog way eventually. Pencil and paper also please my little heart. Technology can lure me for a while, but I typically end up returning to my old ways. I like the tactile feel of it all. And seeing the physical reading journals lined up at the end of my bookshelf makes me happy.

The last book I read by Stephen King was The Stand, but there are others. Click over to my Autobibliography page to find them!

For more thoughts inspired by this book, read:
Hunger or Want: Achieving Maturity
An Unexpected Classic Vampire Novel Has Been Discovered!

Rationality by Steven Pinker: New Read

“Rationality: What it is, Why it is Scarce, Why it Matters” by Steven Pinker is my new read of the week and how I got it in my hot little hands is story I have to tell! Get a cup of coffee or a snack. It’s a rambling one!

How many times have I listened to a podcast interview with an author or read an article that suggested a book, jot said book down on my wish list, and then maybe get around to buying and reading it years later, forgetting why I had put it on my list in the first place? At least twice, if not a million times.

I usually love reading the book but can’t for the life of me remember where I heard about it so I get bummed out that I can’t trace it back and thank whoever it was that brought it to my attention. So sad.

These days I have a new system that seems to be working. A card file TBR list! When I get a recommendation, I add it to my Amazon wish list AND write it down on a card with the date and the place I heard about it, maybe a sentence about why I wanted to read it. When I buy a book, I can look it up in that card file and use that info to start a blog post when I start reading it.

This time though was a little different.

I recently added Quillette to my online reading list and found out a few days ago that they also have a podcast. Yay! A new one to add to my playlist! On my way into the city this week, I clicked it open and the latest interview was with Steven Pinker, so I immediately started playing it.

I’ve heard him interviewed before and really enjoyed what he had to say, so I was excited to hear this and I was not disappointed. I took few notes during my drive/listening time. There was so much going on that I couldn’t translate anything into a few simple words I could jot down blindly while I drive. I decided to listen as closely as I could and planned on putting his new book on my wish list when I got home.

Then something amazing happened. I decided to browse Barnes & Noble while I was in the city. I swore I would stop buying books there. I have nothing against the store and, yes, I know “support the brick-and-mortar stores,” but I buy A LOT of books and I can’t afford to pay 30% more for each one. I’m sorry, you guys. Amazon is cheaper and always has the books that I’m looking for. Nothing beats browsing a physical store, but I try to keep my book browsing to used bookstores these days.

But there I was across the street from Barnes & Noble, eating lunch with a friend, just yearning towards getting a cup of coffee and walking among friends, so I went in. What can a girl do?

I came out $84 dollars poorer but only FOUR books richer. THAT’S why I don’t go in there!

Get to your point, Michelle!

Oh, yes! My point!

Well, Steven Pinker was being interviewed because he has a new book, “Rationality,” out, of course. And there it was right at the front of the store. Guess who did a little dance of glee right then and there, to the embarrassment of my poor friend who now thinks I’m more insane than they thought? That’s right! This girl! The best part is that I had just finished a book that morning and was on the hunt for new read.

Yes, I have three shelves full of TBR books at home, but this was FATE people!

I’m loving the book so far, just as I thought I would. His language is complicated (uses long sentences and BIG words), so I’m reading slower than usual, looking up words I don’t know, but it’s worth the effort.

Here’s my first quote.

“A major theme of this book is that none of us, thinking alone, is rational enough to consistently come to sound conclusions; rationality emerges from a community of reasoners who spot each other’s fallacies.”

I’m not the poster child for “logical” or “rational” most of the time. Ask anyone that knows me. I’m naturally reactionary, leaping from one craziness to another in hopes of landing somewhere solid enough to rest a moment. I blame it on the Viking blood and red hair.

Over the years, through meditation and study, I have learned some new tricks to lengthening that time between stimulus and response, but it’s a slow process. There is a lifetime of conditioning to overcome. The progress is there though! Even my children have commented on it.

At the moment, I’m sixty-six pages in and very excited. He’s great at pointing out fallacies but not making the reader feel stupid, much like my sons, so I’m enjoying the anecdotes leading up to how we can become more rational. A BIG plus for this book is that it’s something my son and husband are interested in, so I get to explain what I read in all the detail I want without them trying to back away slowly.

Have you read any of Steven Pinker’s books? Are you going to read “Rationality?” I’d love to hear your thoughts! Subscribe to the blog and you’ll get to read some of my thoughts about as I read.

Fahrenheit 451: New Read

I read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury years ago and the only thing I remember of it is that it was stressful to read but not as heart racing as 1984 and burning books but not why.

Fahrenheit 451

Sidenote: Ray Bradbury was at a library event that I was representing a statewide homeschool advocacy group at. He read from The Halloween Tree and stood there, in awe. I couldn’t believe it was him and tried to be cool. The woman I was manning our booth with thought it was funny that I was so struck. The moment I got home, I went and found a copy of that book and read it to my kids. It’s one of my favorites.

P.S. The older I get, the more I wonder if any of my memories are true or just imagined. If I don’t have a picture of it, I feel like I can’t be certain it happened. It’s a tad upsetting.

Back to Fahrenheit 451!

Recently, I was searching for it on my bookshelf because my son had read 1984 and was looking for something similar.

I couldn’t find it. I guess I must have loaned it out or donated it when we moved to the desert and I had this wild idea about diminishing my library due to lack of space and fear of moving hundreds of heavy boxes out to the desert.

Don’t worry. That will never happen again.

I went to order a new copy online and decided to try getting a used one again. Bad idea.

An Image of my Current Copy

Apparently “good condition” means different things to different people, so from now on I will only buy used books in person so that I can thumb through and be sure it doesn’t look like this. I’m tired of paying $4 or $5 for a book that looks like someone was doodling in it. I love books with notes, but this is a tad overkill. And, just some little advice, pencil is so much nicer for the next reader because it’s more easily overlooked.

I looked up the old movie from 1966, thinking I might try watching it again. As I recall, it was a pretty boring presentation, but pretty close to the telling of the book. As I was searching for it, I found a new version from 2018, so I think I’ll give that one a try when I’m done reading.

I’m reading the 60th anniversary edition (2013) with an introduction by Neil Gaiman. Introductions are my new favorite part of the book. I’m fascinated by the context they give.

“Ideas – written ideas – are special. They are the way we transmit our stories and our thoughts from one generation to the next. If we lose them, we lose our shared history. We lose much of what makes us human. And fiction gives us empathy: it puts us inside the minds of other people, gives us the gift of seeing the world through their eyes. Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over.”

That’s why I write here on this blog every day. I tell my story each day, little by little, inspired to the surface by the words and thoughts of others.

I’m sixty pages into Fahrenheit 451 and I’m already spilling over with things to comment on and talk about. I wish you were here with me so we could read it together. Each time I come across a line that strikes my soul, I could look over at you and say, “Did you read this part?!” and we could talk about it, get some more coffee, maybe a donut, and then keep reading.

Have you read it? Did you see the movie? What did you think? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Tyranny of the Majority or “We Vote Against You”
Hopeful Dystopian Fiction: Fahrenheit 451

M is For Malice: New Read

M is For Malice is completely new to me. Believe it or not, my dear reader, I had never heard of Sue Grafton until my cousin mentioned her.

m is for malice

Cousin…that’s what you call your uncle’s ex-wife’s daughter, right? My family can get a tad convoluted. We don’t care. If you’re my parents age, you’re an aunt or uncle. If you’re my age, you’re a cousin. That’s how we roll!

The story goes like this, my cousin messaged me about wanting to write some fan fiction about a certain character from a series of books that I’ve never read by an author I’d never heard of. We thought maybe we could help each other out by having someone to be accountable to, but I’m not going to be much help if I don’t know anything about the character.

Time for some research!

I know from some exploration that M is for Malice is not the first book in this series, but I’ve also read the books stand alone, so it doesn’t really matter where you start and since she mentioned she had started with this one, so will I.

One caveat, I’m not a big fan of murder mysteries, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate them. This past year, I have stumbled across two other books in this genre and I thoroughly enjoyed them both. The first was “Prayer for the Dead” by David Wiltse (1991) and it said it was a “thriller” but felt more like a murder mystery/detective story to me. And the second was “The Big Sleep” by Raymond Chandler (1939), THE original classic. And I have yet to watch the movie of that one…bad me! I promise to get that on my watch list ASAP! I had forgotten about it until just now.

Look a chicken!

I’m curious how this book will compare to the others I’ve read. Published in 1996, with a female author and protagonist, I’m sure it will be different. But how? And what about the era? The Big Sleep was written in 1939 and the characters were gorgeous, very much reflecting the time they were written in. Prayer for the Dead was also written in the 90’s but with an all-male cast with a male point of view. Will I “connect” with this book more because of its female perspective? I’m excited to find out.

In fact, I think I’ll start reading right now!

Have you read “M is For Malice” in the past, or any of Sue Grafton’s other books? What did you think? Inquiring minds want to know!

Want to read my final thoughts on this book? Hop over to “Mystery Solved, But I Wanted More”

Bitter is the New Black: New Read

“Bitter is the New Black” by Jen Lancaster is another little gem that I picked up on an adventure that I mentioned in my post about “The Best American Short Stories – 2014.”

bitter is the new black

It’s not a hard and fast rule, more like a guideline, but I try not to pick up books at random as much as possible. There’s just so many books out there. I can’t possibly read them ALL, so I have to have some sort of process when making selections, even from a used bookstore that charges one or two bucks a piece.

My process starts with skipping the fiction section completely. Like fancy processed food at the grocery store, these things are created to catch your eye and make you want them, and they rarely live up to the hype. I’m not a non-fiction snob…ok maybe a little…but good fiction is subjective. You really can’t judge a book by its cover. Your favorite is not going to be mine. Tastes are just too different. So, for fiction, I have to be much more selective. It must come from my list, recommended by someone that I trust, for reasons other than marketing ploys.

PS There are exceptions. “Guidelines, not rules!” I have been sucked into great marketing and been happy for the experience. “Hunger Games” was one of those. Years ago, my sons and I walked into Barnes & Noble with its display of all three novels in piles around the entranceway. My youngest, at the time about 11 years old, insisted on getting it and a mother cannot deny her child a cookie or a book.

While he was reading it, he began describing scenes and I was intrigued. I started reading it, then my other son, then my stepdaughter, AND my husband. A year later the movie came out. …sigh… It was magic.

Where were we? Oh yes, Bitter!

My first stop in a used bookstore is Memoir. I pick up anything by someone I know or who looks like they have an interesting story to tell. Personal points of view are what I’m looking for! It’s my life’s work, my north star (thinking about a post focused on that recent epiphany). “Bitter is the new Black” stood out because, from the cover and subtitle, the story and author seemed completely opposite of myself. And it looked like fun.

From the back cover, “This is the story of how a haughty former sorority girl went from having a household income of almost a quarter-million dollars to being evicted form a ghetto apartment…”

I looked up Jen Lancaster when I started reading the book this morning. Sometimes I feel weird, always coming to the party late, but that’s ok. It’s just part of who I am, always a few years behind the times. If I like this, it looks like there are plenty of others to follow. Her latest book, “Welcome to the United States of Anxiety” came out in 2020, and (once again judging by the cover and description) looks like something I’d be interested in reading.

“Bitter is the New Black” will probably be one of those books that I read in a couple of days, don’t make a lot of notes in, and then summarize my feelings about in a couple paragraphs when I’m done. That’s not a negative, just an observation and prediction. I’m thirty pages in and enjoying it immensely.

Read more at “Oh, For Writing Habits Sake!”

The Little Prince: New Read

Feeling a little down this week, so I decided to read a childhood favorite. I’ve read Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s memoir, “Earth, Sand, and Stars,” a few years ago and loved it so much that I still talk about it and recommend it as one of my favorite books. But I’ve never read “The Little Prince”. Crazy, huh?

the little prince
I tried to tell her I was highlighting her, that she’s beautiful even prickly, but she bit me anyway.

I didn’t know about it when I was a child, but I’d see “The Little Prince” on children’s bookshelves when my boys were younger and ask them if we should read it. They refused, already past the age that the cover and description would entice them. I wish I had discovered it earlier, but I’m sure they’ll come around again and read it eventually, maybe to their own children.

Each time I have a few minutes, I pick this book up and read a page and find myself transported back to “Earth, Sand, and Stars.” I love it so far, and I believe I’ll just keep this book with me all the time, ready on stand-by just in case I need a dose of joy and wonder.

“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is exhausting for children to have to provide explanations over and over again.”

That’s the truth. Maybe that’s why I have such a hard time talking to people sometimes. I’ve never grown up and explaining what I’m imagining and how it connects becomes exhausting. I’m left wondering if anyone will ever let their mind wander a little and meet me along the path to Neverland, or in the Tulgey Wood.

The page I read last night inspires me to start drawing again. I used to love to draw, but I’ve lost the imagination and the patience. I’ve felt rather lost to try anything new, to let go. I feel held back by something, fear and possibly, yes, most likely, ego. I’m afraid I have grown up or begun to get old. Terrifying thought.

Where do you run to when you get that feeling? Is it a book or an activity? Do you have friends there? Are they waiting for you to return?

Undaunted Courage: New Read

Recently, I was reading a book about writing that mentioned “Undaunted Courage” as one of the best historical narrative books ever written, and when I saw it in a pile of free books last December, I snatched up in glee. It was fate that we found each other.

Undaunted Courage
Reading In Bed with Peanut Butter Pretzels – Love

How does one get choked up over a history book? When the author makes it personal. The introduction got me right in the feels. They had taken an extended trip along the route Lewis & Clark took with friends, students, and their children. Driving, hiking, camping, and canoeing.

“We canoed the river at every stop. Each night, around the campfire, we would read aloud from the journals.”

“Around the campfire we took turns enumerating the reasons we loved our country (not so easy to do with young people in 1976, in the wake of Richard Nixon’s resignation and the fall of Saigon, but we did it with great success).”

That…sniff… Stuff like this makes me feel better about out current time. Yes, things have always sucked for someone somewhere at some time. But there are always reasons to be happy and proud.

I’ve been in the area with my own family a few times. On our first trip to Montana, we stumbled across the Lewis & Clark Caverns and found many museums and trails that commemorate the exploration. We’ve sat around the campfire reading from books we found at the museums. My personal favorite was a kid’s craft book we found someplace that helped kids make small canoes, build fire starters, and make maps while we hiked trails, pretending we were explorers.

On the back cover I read, “Ambrose follows the Lewis and Clark Expedition from Thomas Jefferson’s hope of finding a waterway to the Pacific, through the heart-stopping moments of the actual trip, to Lewis’ lonely demise on the Natchez Trace.”

The first thing I thought was, “He should have just checked Google Earth.” I’m hilarious. But think about that. When planning any trip, we don’t think twice about the best way to get there or how long it will take, how much food and water we’ll need. We just type in the location and the phone gives you the route, timeline, and alternatives. So much easier and leaves us with all this extra time to argue about where we will stop for lunch and whether we will get to see that roadside attraction before dark.

This book is LONG, nearly 500 pages, so I’ll be in it awhile. Have you read “Undaunted Courage” by Stephen E. Ambrose? I saw that he’s written several other books that look interesting. Let me know if you read him in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

Read more of my thoughts on this book at:
Keelboats & Trees: Craving Adventure
Taking Pictures to Trigger Memories
You Gotta Fight for Your Right
History Book Brings Me to Tears: Breaking News

The Best American Short Stories – 2014

Like all books in my collection, The Best American Short Stories – 2014 has an origin story. All books have their own origin story, of course. The question here is, “How did this book find its way to me?” I’ll tell you: from a used bookstore in Lake Elsinore that I had been jonesing to check out for over a year.

the best American short stories

Last year, on one of my epic “visiting friends” adventures, I saw a billboard on the side of the freeway that advertised a HUGE used bookstore inside the outlet mall at Lake Elsinore. I’d never been to this so-called outlet mall. I didn’t even know it existed. The only outlet mall I regularly peruse (because it’s close and has some great stores and food…glorious food) is the Cabazon one on the I10 freeway. If you’re ever out this way, stop. It’s an experience if you have time to really walk the whole thing, and I’m not talking about shopping.

What kind of an outlet mall has a used bookstore?! That’s what I was thinking as I passed the sign by. It stuck with me though. I must check this out, I thought to myself, but I didn’t until a year later. I was in the area visiting a friend and we were looking for something to do. It was hot…as the area typically is over the summer…oppressively hot. Where could we go to walk around?

“That mall has a used bookstore.” I suggested.

“Have you ever been there?”

Neither of us had, so we decided to go see what we could find.

Let’s just say it was…anti-climactic, much like this blog post. The mall itself is old, like it’s stuck in 1991, and it is outdoors with very little shade at all, not exactly what I had hoped for at these temperatures. I really don’t understand the lack of shade trees in Southern California. BUT there’s a used bookstore!

A quick look around, past the kettle corn tent and directions to the Covid testing site, and there it was. My heart sunk when I approached the corner building. A few shabby old shelves were dwarfed by the large expanse of glass windows they were displayed in. It looked more like a half-empty thrift store. This was not what I was expecting at all. Where was the romance? Where was the dark corner with an easy chair, the smell of old paper and cardboard, the fat cat lounging between shelves bulging with hidden treasures, the sexy bookworm boy I might find stocking shelves? There wasn’t even coffee.

Maybe I read too much. Well…we were already here. We might as well go inside and see what we can find.

One positive – it was easy to find things. The shelves were labeled well. One could easily thumb through all the titles, nothing double stacked or hidden. Not much adventure in that, but you never know, there could be a gem or two hidden away. Another positive: they were cheap! $1 or $2 a piece. I could buy whatever I want. Even if I decided not to read it later, I wouldn’t have wasted much money.

I walked away with ten books that day. Yep. Ten. I paid $16 and was very happy. I found a few interesting memoirs, three anthologies like The Best American Short Stories, and two historical fiction books that looked promising.

Another bonus, there was Dairy Queen across the way from the bookstore where I promptly ordered a Banana Split Blizzard, only to find they don’t have them anymore. “Do you still sell banana splits?” I asked. She nodded. “Can’t you just put one in the Blizzard machine?” She just stared at me. I got a Thin Mint Blizzard instead.

When I went to my TBR shelf last night (can’t pick a new book right when I wake up), my eye was drawn to this book. I need something a little lighter, maybe a tad more fun than what I’ve been reading lately. I think this will fit the bill nicely.

I started the morning by reading the Forward and Introduction from the editors, curious to know a little about the process of collecting twenty short stories and calling them “best.” I woke up late this morning and had planned on only reading through one cup of coffee, but once I started reading the first story I couldn’t just walk away. It ended up taking two cups of coffee and a few minutes of reflection. That’s the glory of short stories. You know the resolution will come soon, no need to pause and finish later. It’s a quickie.

Do you like short stories? Where do you find yours? Online, blogs? Magazines? I’ve written a few of my own and you can find them on Short Stories: My Attempt at Emulating my Heroes.

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