Wednesday, January 27, 2016

NOT The NY Times Best Seller Book Club

 
Death memoirs, farm memoirs, aging gracefully guides, and books with dogs on the covers. And I thought I could start a book club. It is beginning to come together!
 
As much as I love books, buy books, hoard books, I rarely finish reading one. My nightstand is full of books I plan to read . . . maybe, sooner or later. Maybe part of that problem is the fact I am not a big fiction reader. I like essays and stories about people who find their path after a sad event. How pleasant is that? One of my favorite books was A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas, her memoir on her husband's brain injury. Stephen King said it was his favorite memoir, according to the blurb on the book. Of course, the fact she had a three dog life and I had my six dog life, was a big draw, too. I read that book in the early days of loosing my husband. It made me read her earlier books and now her latest book What Comes Next and How To Like It. That lead me to reading books on having a wonderful life as I age.  I am excited to attend a class on Saturday by Claire Cook (author Must Love Dogs, etc) on reinventing yourself. Her book Never Too Late: Your Roadmap To Reinvention is on my Kindle.

What brought me to the books above is the dog connection. Would I have read these books if a dog had not drawn me in? None of my friends are reading books on how to be fun and older. Nor my weird memoirs. Maybe a cat on the cover would have worked for them. Me, always a sucker for dogs and always drawn into animals on the cover. (This might be a good time to make note of that for your next book cover to my author friends.)

To give you a handle on my quirky reading, I am also reading a memoir on a pig and on owning chickens. My farm fantasy is alive and well as my reading habits keep changing.

I started a book club last year with visions of finding books less known and publicized. My goal was to read local authors, self-published authors, and have authors visit our book club meetings. I called the group The NOT The New York Times Book Club. Perhaps I am not the best one to start a book club, but I like to try new things as I age! (my books on aging tell me this is a positive!)

Our first three selections were NY Times Best Seller Books. I drank wine at our meetings and stuffed my face with food, these were not the books I wanted to share. But I am not an ogre, so I let the members pick what they wanted to read. To set an example for all members, I didn't read the books they picked, noting that you could come to the meeting and feel comfortable even if you had not finished the month's selection. I like to be a positive role model.

In the midst of my looking for 'memoir' style books to enjoy, a friend bought me A Moveable Feast as a gift. All the research I did for my little picture book for my dog Miss April in Paris (A Dog Dreams of Paris) gave me the French connection. He thought I'd love the book. He was spot on.  So, at the last book club meeting, another NY Times best seller I had not read, everyone looked at me and asked, "So just what are you reading?" I had to hold back my giggle (I am not mature for my age) and smiled sweetly at them. "Hemingway." They looked at me strangely. "A Moveable Feast".  I went from dolt to intellectual with those few words. Loved it! Then we went back to discussing the book everyone had read and I had not.

Sometimes you need those moments. Enjoy them. They can make a good story, too.

I am happy to report the group is seeing things more my way! Next Sunday we have local authors sharing their books with our members. Four women, who write amazing books you might not find without knowing they are there, will talk with us and share their writing experiences. They call themselves The Book Widows (I swear I did not choose them for their name because I am a widow and so easily influenced by things I am familiar with). They refer to themselves as Book Widows, like golf widows. The men in their lives do not go to book clubs. I am friends with one of the authors and this is going to be fun.

Finally. I Will Have My Way!

There are so many awesome books that never get the recognition they deserve. Fiction, non-fiction, any genre is included in this statement.  The Book Widows have got me looking at fiction, too.  Especially if there is a dog on the cover!

Would love some suggestions on books you have found that may be hard to find if not on the NY Times Best Seller list.

Links to The Book Widows:  Please do not tell them I have not read their books!
But I have copies on my nightstand!

Valerie Joan Connors

Susan Clotfelter Jimison

Rona Simmons

Constance McKee


Susan, Constance, Rona, Valerie

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog, click here: 
http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-jan-2016/

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Blog Tour Book Review "The Romance Diet" by Destiny Allison

 
 
 Available on Amazon and Kindle

Note: This review is part of the Women On Writing blog tour for Destiny Allison. Link here for more information on her tour!
 
 
I met Destiny Allison online once before, during an earlier blog tour with Women On Writing when I reviewed her book Shaping Destiny on my Book Talk blog in 2012. Needless to say, I was thrilled to review her latest memoir The Romance Diet.  I was not disappointed. I love memoirs and Destiny draws you in with her writing, honesty, insight, and details of her life . Her fears resonate with all of us. Her courage is amazing.
 
The Romance Diet is intimate, grueling, heartbreaking, and finally, exhilarating.  Destiny's honesty is raw as she takes us on her personal journey (along with her husband) on reshaping her life.  It is not just about weight loss. It is a story on coming to terms with personal demons and finding the strength to move forward.
 
As a well-known sculptor, Destiny's identity was solidly in place, especially in her mind. Which is where I live – don’t you? How we perceive ourselves makes us function at our best or worst. A back injury changed all that. She gained weight. Worried about health. Worried about not being sexy enough. She could not do what she loved best, create those extraordinary huge metal sculptures. She needed to find her new passion to feel complete. A new business venture was the answer but brought on other issues to deal with. It is not easy looking deep into your soul for answers. Could questioning too much ruin her marriage? What roles are women expected to play in relationships and society.

Destiny came through a winner. Which my guess is one of her strong traits. As far as beauty, if I look at photos of Destiny from a few years back and compare them to today, she has an inner beauty that makes her softer and more beautiful than ever.

The memoir is short and I read it in one night. I couldn't put it down once I started.  Her issues may be different than yours, but her tenacity and strength is something everyone can draw from and apply to their own life. 


About the Author:



Destiny Allison
 
 
Destiny Allison was a professional and award-winning sculptor. Her work is collected by individuals, civic entities, and corporations worldwide. When an injury required her to re-envision her life, Allison did what she always does. She applied her explosive creativity and dog-with-a-bone tenacity to new endeavors.

In 2011 she was named Santa Fe Business Woman of the Year. Her community building efforts and innovative business model transformed a bankrupt shopping center into a thriving community and commercial center.

In 2012 she published her first book, Shaping Destiny: A quest for meaning in art and life. The book won best independent non-fiction/memoir in the 2013 Global Book Awards.
 
Since then, she has published two novels and opened a general store. 
 
Allison believes that one’s life is one’s greatest work of art. Hence, she flows freely between mediums. Unafraid to make mistakes and always passionate, she lives in Santa Fe, NM.
 
Links:

 

Twitter @sfsculptor