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

Tag: books Page 1 of 20

‘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!

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.

Hopeful Dystopian Fiction: Fahrenheit 451

“Michelle, come on. Hopeful dystopian fiction? I mean, dystopian means bad…very bad.” I know, but give me a minute here. Things can be bad and there can still be a bright future glimmering inside, maybe not for the characters but for their children or children’s children.

Possible SPOILER ALERT, my dears!

So, I’m reading Fahrenheit 451 and I start thinking maybe I remembered less of this book than I thought. I remember Montag meeting the girl and the hound is chasing him. I vaguely remember him getting away, but I don’t how and I’m only halfway through the book. Maybe I didn’t finish reading it last time?

And then the story is over. What?

It turns out that the 60th Anniversary Edition has bonus material. Sweet! The last 100 pages are “History, Context, and Criticism.” They include critical reviews and a few letters from Ray Bradbury. Those were my favorite! Every word I read from him, the more I love him.

His novels and short stories are not complex but hold so much power.

There was one little thing that stuck out to me on this time around, the “seashells.” He’s describing earbuds that people listen to constantly in Fahrenheit 451. Strange because right before I started reading the book, I had commented to a friend at lunch that everywhere I looked people were wearing those damn wireless earbuds. They look like remote control people.

I’ve never been able to listen to anything on those things. I feel vulnerable when they are in my ears, cut off from the sounds of the rest of the world, all hails and warnings too. I can’t focus on what I’m listening to. When people walk by with them on, it’s clear they want no contact from me. It’s creepy. Like we’re all alone…together.

In 1953, he wrote an article for “The Nation,” called “The Day After Tomorrow: Why Science Fiction?”

“So much depends, of course, on what the individual hears when he gives himself over to the electronic tides breaking on the shore of his Seashell. The voice of conscience and reason? An echo of morality? A new thought? A fresh idea? A morsel of philosophy? Or bias, hatred, fear, prejudice, nightmare, lies, half-truths, and suspicions?”

I don’t use earbuds, but I do listen to podcasts while I drive, as you probably have read in one of my Podcast Roundups. There are so many choices out there and I could fill my time in a million different ways, but I choose book discussions, philosophy, something that will help my reasoning, give me a new thought or a fresh idea, not add to my confirmation bias or stir up angry feelings of injustice.

And what about our smart phones with social media feeds? He couldn’t have seen that from way back there, but I think his feelings about in-ear radios match up quite nicely. Who or what you “follow” makes all the difference in the world.

One more little thing and then I’ll let you go.

“Is there…a delicate interplay where the society does not crush the individual but where the individual realizes that without his cooperation society would fly to pieces through the centrifugal force of anarchy?”

That’s something to think about, isn’t it? Personally, I’m a fan of classic anarchy (meaning “an absence of any form of political authority”) and prefer it to what we are currently running headlong into, but I get what he’s saying. Living in a community is a give and take dance. The bigger the community, the more complicated it becomes. You can’t run onto the dance floor and start a mosh pit while the ballroom dancers are gliding across the floor without inflicting injuries. And, ethically, we can’t force everyone to dance the same dance at the same time, so what do we do? Make space I suppose, take turns, create contracts, set up personal boundaries.

Reading Fahrenheit 451 after George Orwell’s 1984 was soothing. Sure, it’s dystopian, a cautionary tale about where we may be headed, but with a hopeful ending. I closed the book thinking, “See? Even if we screw things up royally, we’ll come back again.” Humanity has been much worse off in the past. I mean, the Dark Ages?!

If you keep your eye on the bigger picture, the one that includes each and every one of us as a thread in larger tapestry, things aren’t so overwhelming. Each of our lives adds a bit of color or texture to the design. Our little piece of string doesn’t seem like much but without us, the whole thing starts to unravel.

Instead of worrying so much about where I fit or what others are doing, I’ve decided to focus on my own life and connect with the people around me. Like the outliers in Fahrenheit 451, I do my best to memorize what I can and pass it forward to the next person.

If you’d like to read more of my posts about this book, pop back over to “Fahrenheit 451: New Read.”

Tyranny of the Majority or “We Vote Against You”

Tyranny of the majority, otherwise known as “mob rule,” is no way to build a nation. A straight democracy, one without limits to its power, is a tyranny as much as any dictator or king.

Where do I even start with this one? It’s like the author could see me struggling from 80 years away.

The words are hard to gather. Once again, I’m sitting here wishing you were here. When we speak face to face, your reactions to my words help my limping ideas along. Your questions and insights, even when contradicting mine, give my mind the steam to organize and move forward at a faster rate. Is it the same for you? I feel that it is.

Reading that line from the book, I’m reminded of that cliché everyone’s mom is reported to say, “If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you?”

I hope not. But then, if everyone found a great new way to communicate, I’d be happy to join the majority and thrive along with them. No one wants to be left out, or left behind, but sometimes we do need to swim against the tide and strike out on our own to find what is true. So how do we know when to stay with the crowd and when to forget our own path alone?

I believe it’s only by conversation, in person, through books and articles, and even through comments online, if we could learn to better listen. But lately, (and by lately, I mean the past five or six years) online in the past, and now more and more often in person, I get the feeling that no one wants to hear the question “Why?”

When the dreaded question is asked, I recoil at the verbal and written violence thrown at them from every side. It’s as if the very idea of questioning anything any “authority” says is an attack on that authority and must be defended at all costs.

How have we come to this point? And please don’t just yell back, “Social media is doing it to us!” It’s too easy an answer. Besides, who is behind the social media? Us. We are the ones reacting in terrible ways to posts. We are the ones throwing the word grenades into the fray. And we are the ones packing our comments with shrapnel in hopes of causing the most damage to our perceived enemies.

We’ve all fragmented into tiny tribes of identity attempting to vote any opposing group or another out of existence.

Personally, I have hope that things will get better again. The world may not be ending, only changing…again. Reading Ray Bradbury’s words reminds me that polarizing arguments like ours have been had before and we came through. The world did not end in a nuclear holocaust, and we didn’t run out of food.

There are loads of statistics and trends out there that point to things getting better, not worse. Authors like Matt Ridley in The Rational Optimist helped me see that. His blog is a wonderful read as well.

The tyranny of the majority has always been a problem for humans. Mobs suck in almost every way. Humans are complex creatures. We crave to be part of a community for our mental health. There is safety in numbers and “many hands make light work” is a truism. But we also need to be true to ourselves, and each of us is different.

When we lived in small communities of distant relatives, it was easier. We generally only fought to the death with those outside our land. Things are different now. Technology has made our world feel so much smaller. So many people, backgrounds, religions, cultures, languages, etc., all thrown into the pot together. There are bound to be serious miscommunications.

Is patience all we need? A little more listening. Maybe.

It reminds me of Star Trek’s “universal translator.” It must have taken decades to develop that and work out all the bugs. If you’ve watched “Enterprise” and “Original Series” you’ll remember some epic mess-ups with it.

Technology is bringing this world is moving forward into unknown territory very quickly. Can we keep the peace long enough to begin to understand each other better? Or will we tear each other apart in fear first?

Go back to my first post “Fahrenheit 451: New Read” to read more.

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!

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

Mystery Solved, But I Wanted More

My first thought as I finished “M is for Malice” was, sure, the mystery solved, but I’m still not a big fan of the genre. That fact is a good thing because, holy Toledo, she wrote A LOT of these, and I just don’t have the time to add that much fiction to my must read dream list.

That being said, I did enjoy the book. It was not a bad book, and I don’t mean that in a “not good, either” kind of way. It was great! It felt classic with a twist. And a strong female protagonist, that isn’t one of those “I hate men” kind? Yes, please.

Kinsey is a down-to-earth, intelligent, independent (and vulnerable) woman that I really connected with. She jumped off the page as someone I could be great friends with. And the more I read, the more I loved her. We had a lot of common.

Like I said in my first post about this book, my cousin introduced me to it as something her and her mother (one of my favorite “instant like” people) used to read a lot of. I was hesitant to pick it up at first. I’m not a fan of mysteries and most modern novels leave me wishing I had spent the time in a classic. “Hold the phone,” I thought. If this is a character one that my (much loved) aunt and cousin loved, wouldn’t it be likely that I’d love them too?

Now I’m sitting here wishing I could ask my aunt what she loved about the books so much. Stupid mortality.

My final thoughts on this book are these: great book, loved Kinsey, loved the progression of the story (although I immediately knew who really did it when that character entered, I was just reading on to find out how and why). Loved that it was set in Southern California, along with all the description of the weather and beaches, etc. I loved Kinsey’s complicated relationship with Dietz and wanted to know more, hoping it would grow and mature.

There were parts of the book that felt superfluous, descriptions of things that I didn’t feel made the story move forward or give me insight. They were colorful and enjoyable, but extra. And the story and characters are simple and straightforward. I craved more depth, more twist, more discovery of their souls. This felt like tv, which I love, but I wanted more.

I liked it. I’m glad I read it. And I’m looking forward to reading some of the fan fiction my cousin is dreaming up. Maybe I’ll post some here if she’ll let me!

If you missed my first thoughts on this book, click back to “M is for Malice: New Read.”

History Book Brings Me to Tears: Breaking News

How many times has a history book kept you on the edge of your seat or brought you to tears?

Here’s the thing; I didn’t know much about the Lewis & Clark expedition when I picked up this book. I have been to the Three Forks, Montana area, about fifteen years ago, on a camping trip with my family. We went to some exhibitions, museums, and historical sites, mostly by lucky accident, planning to return some day and check it out more thoroughly. It hasn’t happened yet, and now my children are grown and on their own. Maybe they’ll take their families there some day and build on what we learned when they were kids.

history book doesn't do it justice
My Children In Yellowstone – 2008

That reminds me of the quote from Nietzsche that I shared on Instagram this morning.

Thinking back on the book, I can see that some of first chapters and pieces along the way, hinted at what the author believed I already knew, but didn’t. Lewis abruptly ended his life a few years after returning from the Pacific Coast. My heart broke reading it, like I’d just heard the news of an old friends’ demise.

So much work to get the expedition on its way, so much planning and sacrifice. All that he, along with Clark and the Corp of Discovery, went through to gather and document along the trail. They lost no one along the way. And only got into one fatal skirmish with tribe on the way back. So much to gain from all that knowledge. And there he was struggling in his mind at the end.

Undaunted Courage is an amazing history book. I’ve never read anything like it. It reads more like a novel so that every day I read I don’t want to put it down and look forward to picking it up again. Every page was wonderful, insightful, and honest.

Honest! Yes, our views have changed 200 years later. He’s honest about how they dealt with native tribes, women, and slavery. The politics of our nation are not whitewashed, but neither are the triumphs and discoveries diminished.

This is Lewis’ story and it’s beautiful. I didn’t realize how much was going on and what it meant. I closed the book thinking, “Oh, Lewis. If you could only have held on for another year or two.” And “Jefferson, did you not know? Did you regret your inadvertent roll?” If you never read another history book about the late 18th and early 19th century, read this one. You won’t be disappointed.

PS Bring some tissue for the last few chapters.

Return to my first post, “Undaunted Courage: New Read” to find more posts about this inspiring book.

You Gotta Fight for Your Right…

Yeah, I hear the Beastie Boys every time I hear “fight for your right.” 8o’s kid. What can I say?!

Short (and a tad rough) post today because, once again, it is my “calling day” and I have things to do and people to see OUTSIDE my house!

Yoga, skipped. Meditation, shortened. Journal, I’ll do it later. Breakfast, rushed. THAT’S how much I want to share this thought with you. In the past, I’ve tried to keep my posts neutral. There is little that I am so sure of that I’ll go to war to force you to do what I think is best.

But I will fight (and by “fight,” I mean use my words and my money) for my right to be left alone, so that you also have that right.

fight for your right

“Lewis asked that volunteers sign up for twelve months’ service and ‘thus prove themselves worthy of their fathers of ’76 whose bequest, purchased with their blood, are those rights we now enjoy and so justly prize; let us then defend and preserve them, regardless of what it may cost, that they may pass unimpaired to the next generation who are to succeed us.’”

I read this line from Undaunted Courage and teared up a bit. Sentimental, maybe. Possibly a little nationalist, but…dammit it hit home this morning.

Our nation was not founded on perfect principles, but it was a start. Every step toward independence and freedom for all is better than going backwards.

When we give away our rights in the name of safety, we give away our children’s, and our grandchildren’s, rights away as well.

When we allow the use of force on one person, we allow it on ourselves.

When we give power to one entity, we give it to all, and they will use it against us in the future.

I’ve run out of time this morning and I have so much to say, with little know-how to say it, and with a lot of fear of expressing it, which pisses me off even more.

I’ll leave it here today. We all need to stop and think before we authorize and back-up the use of force on others, inside AND outside our nation, state, town, or business. “Do unto others as you would have done to you.”

Want to read more posts inspired by this book? Click back to my first post, “Undaunted Courage: New Read.

Taking Pictures to Trigger Memories

If it weren’t for taking pictures wherever I go, I’d have so few memories about the details.

From “Undaunted Courage” by Stephen E. Ambrose, “He (Lewis) was a man whose mind never stopped working, and during his long walks on the plains or in the mountains he had plenty of time to think – even though his eyes were constantly picking up flora and fauna, geographical features, the distance to this or that spot, and registering them in his mind so he could write about them in his journal.”

At this line, I wrote a small note in my book, “I’d forget all about the details by the time I got to writing it down.”

It’s something that frustrates me and why I take a lot of pictures…and then get so discouraged by the people that say you’re not in the moment if you’re always taking pictures.

taking pictures
My First Photo Album

I take pictures to remember the details. I may recall where I was and who I was with if I don’t, but in the long run and especially if I want to think on and write about the day later, the pictures stir the memories back to the surface.

I started taking pictures when I was around 11 years old and got a camera for Christmas. It took square pictures. From that day on, I snapped pictures of my toys, my brother, my friends, the playground, my mom, everything.

When I was in high school, I got a Minolta camera that I carried around with me on a Mickey Mouse strap that I bought at Disneyland. I took it everywhere and filled scrapbooks with photos and notes about them.

taking pictures
Loved This Camera SO Much!

Digital was a dream come true. I could take even more pictures of my day and not worry about the cost of printing them all and throwing away the bad ones.

And then they put a camera on my phone. Best invention ever! And instead of putting them in a book with a note, I can post them on Instagram for the world to see.

There was a downside to that. People and their opinions. I started to let those opinions change my actions. They started to diminish what I love with their petty bullshit.

I don’t consider myself a photographer. Most of my pictures are not “art,” they are memory triggers: I saw this, I want to look into that, this was interesting, etc. I used to put them in a photo album, now I put them on Instagram. I make a note to remember what I was thinking or where I was, with who, and leave it, creating a printed photo album at the end of the year.

I’d like to start taking some time at the end of my day to reflect on the pictures I took and write more thoughtfully about them, instead of posting throughout the day.

Strange that I didn’t realize how much I enjoy taking pictures and how I had let it be ruined until just now, reading about Meriwether Lewis walking the Rocky Mountains and returning to journal about his discoveries. Can you image in he had social media and the internet? Would he have changed he wrote down or how he felt about the exploration if he had been confronted with public opinion at every turn?

Go back to my first post, “Undaunted Courage: New Read,” to read more.

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”

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