Book Reviews

The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck

Five Stars

I chose to listen to the audio version of this book because of the title and because I had work to do. I started just before Christmas, took a few breaks at the beginning of January, and finished during what has to be the coldest week on record. I listened, and I knit gifts. I considered the title as I pondered the story, and, to be honest, I’m still trying to figure out that part. But, I know why. Because it’s a Steinbeck novel.

Like other Steinbeck novels I’ve read, this is another of surprising revelation. Readers may be able to figure out some of the plot before the end of the story. But, the true reveal is not what happens to the characters. It is how they react to what happens. Steinbeck understood the human condition, and he understood that this condition determines our dreams, our motives, and our ultimate decisions. He knew what every enduring writer knows–how to create characters that live and breath within his readers regardless of profession, gender, or generation. His books are like mirrors. We may not like what we see (or hear or experience), yet we cannot turn away even after we turn the final page (or in my case, turn off the app).

All Steinbeck books seem to linger unforgotten on the bookshelves of the mind. I smile, thinking I almost have the meaning of the title determined. Then the idea grows cold again, and I trudge on while pondering a while longer. And I realize I can’t help myself. I’m still smiling.

Note: There is a fair amount of language and adult situations. Listen at your own discretion.

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

The Girl in the Picture by Kerry Barret

Four Stars

The Girl in the Picture by Kerry Barret tells the story of a  present-day mystery writer moving to a small, England town only to discover an unsolved murder surrounding the family who lived in her house in 1855. Quite simply, this is a good, clean read. I finished the book in about two days, so be prepared by getting other tasks done first!

Between the Lines: This Writer's Journal

Alone, But Not Lonely

Sometimes you have to be alone in order to find out who you are without anyone telling you. Sometimes you have to be alone so you can learn the sound of your own voice.

from You Can Do This by Tricia Lott Williford

As a home educator, I am rarely alone in the house. There were years when finding a place of solace meant sitting in the bathroom longer than necessary or clearing a place in my walk-in closet to have my quiet time. As my children have grown, my moments of reprieve have expanded. They sleep in, and I have a few more minutes before the hurry-scurry of the day. We go off to their activities, and I have time to read or knit while I wait. I leave the radio off in the car on purpose so that I can drown out the cacophony of life with silence.

But, my favorite escape is to my local coffee shop. I pack my bag with my laptop, reading material, notebook, and anything else I might want. I order my signature beverage that the coffeehouse staff knows by heart and find a table. Alone.

Yet, I’m not lonely.

I write. I read. I study. I listen. I hear the voices around me, but mostly I hear my own voice.

That’s important for a writer.

All writers have a unique tone and style. Having time alone allows that voice to be heard. We might not always like what we hear, but we must heed it. This is the voice of reason, our purpose for existing.

Because no one can tell your story the way you can.