UPDATE ON ME
Every July, my mom has what she calls “Grandma Road Trip,” during which she brings my brother’s kids to visit the spouse and me. They’ve been to where we live before, but in recent years meet half way between central Michigan and northern Indiana. Due to the pandemic, and especially because the spouse and I live in an area getting to be a COVID hot spot, there was no road trip. Instead, we used Google Hangouts video function to “visit.”
The kids (ages 11, 10, 4, and 2) baked a cake and watched Uncle Nick bake cookies. I read The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and they observed as we made taco cupcakes for dinner, which were trickier to bake than I had anticipated. We took a break while the taco cupcakes baked and then were able to get back together while we ate dinner. I know it sounds odd, but even seeing other people eat dinner is still breaking bread. When we’re in person, we don’t talk incessantly around a meal, nor should we have to because we beamed ourselves in on video. We painted nails together and have plans to color together tomorrow (I printed out Liz Climo’s free coloring book). Overall, I’d say it was a huge success! Plus, the ten-year-old didn’t even have to take her dramamine.
THIS WEEK’S BLOG POSTS
I’m grateful that Sophie Campbell took the time to answer my questions for a Meet the Writer feature. Although Breakfast at Bronzefield is her first book, I try not to assume that authors want to do extra “work” for my blog. The conversation around her interview were fantastic, and thanks for making Campbell feel so welcome!
Currently, my literary crush on S.M. Reine’s writing knows no bounds. I was so wrapped up in the emotions and complexity of The Descent Series that I had to pace myself to avoid being too greedy. Yes, I plan to read other series that exist in this same “DescentVerse” and will continue to review those series. I had a couple of readers ask if The Descent Series was anything like Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. I’m assuming folks mean the TV show, which I did not watch, and not the movie, which I have seen and love (Luke Perry #RIP). The movie is nothing like The Descent Series, if that helps. Also, Reine’s protagonist is not a teen girl, she’s almost thirty, so you don’t get any of those high school dynamics that I remember in movie-Buffy’s world.
NEXT WEEK’S BLOG POSTS
Even though I was really nervous, I asked S.M. Reine if she would participate in my Meet the Writer series, and she said yes! Be still, my heart. Nah, just kidding! You beat like crazy, girlfriend. On Tuesday, read the excellent, thoughtful answers Reine provided to my questions. I even asked a bonus question about what made her choose to create a fat protagonist, Dana McIntyre, the star of the first-ever Reine book I read.
On Thursday check out my review of Unashamed: Musings of a Fat, Black Muslim by Leah Vernon. Her memoir was published last year and discusses her growing up in the Nation of Islam in Detroit, how she feels about living in a fat, black body, and how she approaches her faith when people tell her she isn’t Muslim enough.
BOOK I’M READING ALOUD TO MY SPOUSE
While I feel like I really know the characters in East Pittsburgh Downlow by Dave Newman, they never fail to surprise me. Honestly, I think this novel would have changed my approach as a professor at a small college had I read it while teaching. The main character, who welded bridges for eleven years and wrote western novels on the side, was hired as an English professor after he did a reading at a community college. His blue collar background makes him relate better to his students, and he seems more human than any professor I’ve met (even myself).
BOOKS ADDED TO THE TBR PILE
The Blue Chip Store is a book I found on Reddit when I was looking for more prison memoirs after I was so disappointed with Hummingbird in Underworld. The cat book is a cozy mystery by S.M. Reine that is not part of the DescentVerse.