April’s Audio books and Life Update

In case you read last month’s post and are wondering how Jayden’s neck pain turned out, he’s totally fine now. We never did have to have x-rays since after the ten day course of anti-inflammatories, he was no longer whimpering and was slowly getting back to himself. I kept him calm for several days after he finished his meds just in case, but he’s totally fine now and we’re returning to the vet this week to get his shots which the vet did not want to give Jayden while he wasn’t feeling well.

I seem to be responding well to my new thyroid med and iron supplement, knock on wood, which I just did. I worked out all last week and am looking forward to doing a zombie run for the first time in forever tomorrow. I saw the neurologist this month and since I have no new symptoms I’m good to go until my next MRI in October. I told him I still have bouts of fatigue and he said that’s the MS, not the gilenya. So Gilenya doesn’t help with the fatigue? Nope. But, the thyroid med and iron supplement is helping with that so all’s well that ends well right?

I’m up to 51,500 words on the memoir. I’ve hit a rough patch on that, getting to a point in my life where nothing much seemed to happen and I’m just pulling taffy to get to the fun baseball stuff haha! I started off strong on the Stephen King plan working up to 2K words a day but I just could not keep up that pace. I’m doing some sort of writing every day though for the most part, even if it is just playing with some fun fiction that isn’t for publication.

Baseball is back and the Rays are off to a good start even though they are the walking wounded. they’re playing at and above .500 baseball without all their parts so I’m pretty happy so far with 2015.

Ok, on with the books!

*Six books this month*

40. “Rogue” (The Talon Saga book 2) by Julie Kagawa – narrated by Kaitlin Davies,MacLeod Andrews, Chris Patton and Tristan Morris

finished April 30

See my review for the first book in this series below. This second book wasn’t as good as the first one but it was still most definitely a page turner what will happen next book. I just wish there was a different female narrator.

This second book had the dragons leave the beach for all the lights of Vegas as they ran for their lives from two big enemy orders. The action was good but nothing can quite beat the ending of the first book, in my opinion. I wonder if this will just be a trilogy or one of those series that goes on and on. I think there should be an ending no matter how much I enjoy the series because people can only run from their enemies for so long.

39. “Dangerous Women” by George r. r. Martin, Gardner Dozois

Finished April 27

I got this anthology specifically because Scott Brick reads a story by Diana Rowland. This I found out on Twitter after mentioning how good Scott Brick is. Diana rowland saw it and told me about the story of hers he read and I knew I had to hear it. I’m not a huge fan of anthologies since there’s no guarantee every story will be enjoyable and this one was cross-genre so There were some sci-fi stories that were like wtf? But some that were really good. Knowing the stories are all about dangerous women made some of them predictable and some I wondered which woman was supposed to be dangerous. It was over thirty hours of stories, so it took some time to read, especially with baseball being back.

Ok I’m skipping through the book and have to mention a story read by Jonathan Frakes that disappointed me because it’s Jonathan Frakes! Commander Riker! number One! He should stick to acting with scripts though. He’s not a great audio book narrator. The story was called, the Hands That Are Not There and it was just weird. Hmmm, furry alien sex.

Oh! So there’s a story called Neighbors and in the introduction, the author’s name is given but her pseudonyms too, one of which being Robin Hobb! I was so excited. I love Robin Hobb! This story was set in present times though and was rather depressing since it has an older woman dealing with episodes of dementia and her family is arguing about putting her in a home. there’s a supernatural’ish element and in the end the woman escapes into an alternate dimension. So I was excited but then let down. No dragons or royalty or Fools haha.

My favorite story by far was I know How To Pick ‘Em by Lawrence block. The story was only forty-five minutes and that’s all it needed. Block hit it out of the freaking park with this story and i looked him up. I’ll be checking out his other work which is a lot. I’m rather surprised I’d never heard of him. this guy has been writing since before I was born.

There was a futuristic dystopia called Second Arabesque, Very slowly by Nancy Kress. This story was soooo good. I think she’s another author I’ll be looking up. It was beautifully written and had women rebelling. Oh and ballet, don’t forget the ballet.

Diana Rowland’s story was good but had no zombies or demons! It was set in Louisiana like her other books and while Scott Brick dropped rowland’s sarcastic lines with his usual ease, his voice is more New York than New Orleans. The story had a male protagonist which was a fun switch from Rowland’s usual females but he wasn’t likable in the least. Bad cop, need I say more? I’m glad he encountered a truly dangerous woman.

There was a story by S.M. Sterling which just so happened to be in the canon of a series my friend Ricardo wants me to read about a future dystopia with Wiccans. I thoroughly enjoyed the story in this anthology so I can’t wait to get started on the series. This story was good, with people in the future trying to prosecute a sexual assault using their own brand of justice.

Another good story was Caretakers by Pat Cadigan. Here we have an elderly lady again but with her two sharp tongued and witty daughters. the dialogue in this one was laugh out loud funny and the end of the story was goose bump inducing. I’ll be checking out more Pat Cadigan, to be sure!

A story called Lies My Mother told Me by Caroline Spector was like wtf but in a good way. A super hero who gets fat and then throws fat bubbles with the deadly accuracy of a sniper rifle? A woman who can call dead people from the grave to become her very own zombies? A dude who can steal powers with a touch? Oh and how about a child who’s half insect half human? Alrighty then! It all works in this story which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The last story was by George R. R. Martin of course and by then I was just ready for one novel with plenty of character development and plot. Martin’s story was set long before the happenings of ‘A Game of thrones’ and I’m sorry but an epic just doesn’t work in a short story. I fell asleep and missed the ending and didn’t really care. There wasn’t time enough to develop any feelings for the characters.

This was a fun anthology and I discovered some writers I plan to check out. and who knew Janis Ian was a good audio book narrator? she read several of the stories I liked. In fact all the narrators were good except Jonathan Frakes, though I’m a pretty picky person when it comes to audio book narrators.

38. “Talon” (The Tallon Saga book 1) by Julie Kagawa – narrated by Kaitlin Davies,MacLeod Andrews and Chris Patton

Finished April 16

This was an Audible daily deal that caught my attention and which my friend Ricardo also picked up. I began it grudgingly after the Ledger book at Ricardo’s urging even though I really wanted to begin an anthology with a Diana rowland story.

At first I didn’t think I’d like this book. I couldn’t, and still can’t, stand the female narrator. she’s just so whiny and sounds like a bad soap opera actress. I wish someone like Kate Rudd had narrated but oh well. You can’t have everything. At least it had MacLeod Andrews! Love him.

I didn’t realize this was a young adult book until Ricardo wondered if it was and I began reading. At first I was put off by the usual YA tropes, sixteen year-old girl figuring out who she is, deciding to defy the only organization she’s ever known, needing rescuing by males etc. But when that sixteen year-old just happens to be a dragon who shifted into human form so she and her twin could infiltrate a small beach town and blend into human society, it was easy to move beyond what annoyed me and escape into the characters and eventual heart pounding action.

I loved the parallels between two of the main characters, who both ended up on a journey of self-discovery, stumbling together along the way. Would they realize too late that they were centuries old enemies? I immediately preordered book two in this series. I wonder how many books it will have!

Julie Kagawa on Twitter: @JKagawa

37. “Predator One” (Joe Ledger book 7) by Jonathan Maberry – narrated by Ray Porter

finished April 13

Holy crap wow best Joe Ledger book yet! Holy crap. I mean wow. Laugh out loud quote? “Well fuck me blind and move the furniture.” Haha! No one could have dropped that line in top’s voice better than Ray Porter.

This book was freaking awesome and totally terrifying even more so than deadly plagues and zombies. One word – drones. Drones everywhere. Drones controlled by hacked software done by a genius held under duress by a madman. While I was reading this, and for a time after, every mention of a drone or any kind of autonomous vehicle on Twitter gave me chills. Of all the Ledger books, this one seemed the most feasible.

the only complaint I have about this book is the beginning, which takes place in Philadelphia on a Sunday afternoon for “National League Opening Day”, the Orioles visiting. I really thought Maberry was a baseball fan since he mentions the Orioles in every Ledger book, but that’s just not accurate. Terrifying though, a drone strike at a baseball game. *Shudder*

Jonathan Maberry on Twitter: @JonathanMaberry
Ray Porter on Twitter: @Ray__Porter

36. “Vengeance of the Demon” (Kara Gillian book 7) by Diana Rowland – narrated by Liv Anderson

Finished April 9

I so do not want to wait a year for the next book in this series! I tried not to fly through this one but it’s just so hard to take it slow. This book had more twists than a Renaissance Festival hairdo. There were wtf moments that had me screaming and at one point I was crying as hard as I did to “The Fault in Our Stars”. Whoa. After I got myself under control I wondered how I would do that to my own readers one day. Beware!

This series is just sooooooo awesome! Man. A year? I have to wait a year? Noooooooo!

“35. “Persuader” (Jack Reacher #7) by Lee Child – narrated by Dick Hill

Finished April 6

Ok Why does Jack reacher just get to come in and take charge away from all FBI people, Secret Service people etc? He’s issuing orders and I’m like really? I don’t know; I’m grumpy with this book. I just can’t suspend my disbelief with this one I guess. Who died and made Reacher the king of all badass drifters?

I jotted those notes a couple hours before finishing the book and my opinions didn’t change with the conclusion. I just couldn’t support the mission of vengeance Reacher was on in this one. There was nothing to like about him.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, baseball, doc, Jayden, twitter me this, Uncategorized, vet visit, writing

Something Special for a Decade?

I was asked earlier in the week if I was doing anything special for my anniversary on Friday. Oh that’s right, it is Friday, isn’t it. My favorite number next to 3 is 424. My sobriety anniversary is the most important anniversary in my life since there’s no way I’d have the life I have today without my sobriety. No way.

Unfortunately the universe decided to make things easy for me and help me remember the date I went blind by letting that happen on my three year sobriety anniversary. I swear, I have bad luck with double anniversaries.

Of course I knew my ten year sobriety date was this month. Of course I know today is special. It just snuck up on me, what can I say? It’s been a great book month, with two books out by two of my favorite authors, the baseball season began, Josh Groban has a new album out next week along with another book by an author I just discovered, my friends got two new snakes, B and I celebrated eight years together, see how easy it was for today to sneak up on me?

I thought about my friend asking if I was doing anything special so to days ago I went looking on Amazon at sobriety medallions since I no longer attend meetings and I’m not gonna be one of “those people” who show up just for the free medallion and cheers and claps on the back and hugs. Do I miss those things? Sure. do I feel the guilt I felt when I first stopped going to meetings and showing the newcomer sobriety is possible? Nope. Ha!

That’s called growth my friends. There are plenty of people able to be constantly available to show the newcomer sobriety is possible. It’s not up to just me to save the world and I can’t be one. And that’s ok. It’s been proven to me time and time again that my life has meaning, my story has meaning, and my friends prove that to me, so much so they made me cry this morning. Ya’ll know who you are, *cough* Twitter people. Twitter people who have become my friends and constant support, who make me laugh harder than anything else ever does, who understand that going blind is not the same as breaking one’s foot.

Oh but back to Amazon. I did buy myself a trinket for today that unfortunately won’t get here until next week since today snuck up on me. It’s a dog tag necklace with, 10 Years and, One Day at a Time on it. Simple, twelve bucks, and I can’t wait to get it. Dog tag necklaces are cool!

A few hours ago I was debating writing a post today since all I’ve done over the last several months is write about my life in that memoir. Would I do anything special today? My washer just beeped. It’s never beeped before. Odd.

So no, I’m not doing anything special today. I’m washing sheets. Josh Groban is singing from the bedroom. I listened to audio this morning of my friends feeding their snakes. I laughed and smiled, and then I cried after feeling a sudden bout of melancholy, thinking over the last ten years. Maybe writing would help, as a friend pointed out. I’ll write a post and title it, A Decade in Review. I’ll write about funny memories, touching memories, I’ll cry and laugh and hope you laugh and cry too. I had a good sob when the feelings of gratitude over my friends overwhelmed me, listened to my book while I ate my cereal and the urge to write a decade in review post fled. That story is in the memoir, not yet complete, not yet close to complete, but it will be there all the same.

Instead, today is a day of reflection and memory and grateful tears, all of which are personal to me on this day of double anniversary.

I’ll do my usual Friday thing, chores and reading and Twittering and I’ll think about the past absolutely insane decade of my life at times, but then I’ll stare into space and listen to the birds and be in today and just feel.

Oh and anxiously await the male and see what my friend sent. I guess I am doing something special. *Happy giggle*

10 Comments

Filed under anniversary, Audio books, baseball, fellowship, gratitude, laundry, man o mine, misty eyes, music, sobriety, treat for me, twitter me this

My Not So fiery Thursday

Picture it: Sicily I mean Tucson, a beautiful day in mid April, a 1950’s era home with doors and windows flung wide, a breeze full of deliciously fresh spring air dancing from door to door and door to window.

It was about 12:30pm on Thursday and I was contemplating making my lunch while doing something on the laptop, probably reading Twitter,while Jayden snuggled beside me on the couch. All was quiet and lovely and I was in a wonderful mood after a surprise from iTunes that morning.

After preordering the new Josh groban album, Stages, I was confused to hear the tritone chime alerting me to new downloads. Since the album isn’t out until the twenty-eighth I wasn’t expecting a download. Was it because I preordered the deluxe version? I knew some of the songs were out in the wild since I’d read tweets from people commenting on them. I have avoided reading the song list or listening to any of the new ones, wanting to experience the album song by song, sight unseen.

Curious, I searched my library for Stages and had songs! What was this magic? I didn’t check how many, wondering which songs they would be, anticipation building as I grabbed my bluetooth speaker and settled in to listen.

I had four new Josh Groban songs! four! Is it April 28 yet? April has been an awesome month for books and music, I must say.

So a few hours later as I contemplated making my turkey and radish sandwich before my Thursday call, relaxed back on the couch with my laptop, it took me a few seconds to understand the sudden horrible blaring screeching noise, Jayden bounding off the couch and running, cats running, everyone running and the blaring, was it coming from outside? No. In the house? yes. Do I smell smoke? No. Jayden was leaping around, nails clicking on the tile floor, if the screeching was hurting me it must be killing him.

Follow the sound, it was bouncing off tile and walls, bedroom? windows open in there, the only windows with screens. Neighbor burning weeds again? blaring. I can’t hear myself think. I can’t see. I can’t hear, anything but the blaring. Is something on fire? I don’t smell smoke. Are we ok? I don’t smell smoke. Bedroom, it would be up near the ceiling. run my hands along the rough brick of what used to be the outside of the house. I mutter the word help. A neighbor will hear the blaring and come to help. I can’t reach it. Run out of the bedroom, close the door.

Hurry away from the sound. Pull my phone from my pocket. B might be taking a lunch break. He has working eyes. He can come make the sound stop.

Ding ding: Call B.

Siri: Calling B.

ring ring. Ring ring. ring ring. voicemail.

Hi, um everything is fine and nothing is on fire but the fire alarm thing is going and I can’t stop it but you didn’t answer, think I’ll call the fire department just in case.

Ding ding: Call 911.

Siri: calling emergency in five seconds.

Blaring fire alarm. Head pounding. Nervous giggles threatening.

Silicon Sally: What is your emergency?

Silicone Sally? Seriously?

Um, fire alarm is going off.

Dispatcher, a real woman.

Your fire alarm is going off?

Yes and I’m blind. I don’t smell smoke.

Her voice takes on an edge. You’re blind? Ok sending a truck right now. What is your address?

I tell her, beginning to spell the street name and she interrupts.

I’ve got the spelling. Go outside and wait for the truck ok?

Ok. We hang up.

I freeze in the living room. I usually put timmy in a room when I go outside so he won’t escape. No time. No time to find timmy. He freaked out with the other animals anyway and is probably hiding. Go to back door, grab Jayden’s leash , go to front door, put leash on, step right outside the door, stop.

Wait. In school we always had to walk away from the building. Jayden’s harness is right inside the door. Step back in, grab his harness, step out, put it on, direct him to the curb.

The distant siren growing closer and then the sound of a heavy engine turning the corner. I waved, feeling so happy to hear them so fast. Even though I knew nothing was burning, I was running on pure adrenaline, and that blaring, so loud, hurting my ears…I had known what it was like to lose that all important sense, at least in a way.

the men stomped towards me and cheerfully said hello and I followed one back to the house. Jayden stopped at the door and a fireman behind me said the door was closed.

“I thought he went in ahead of me.”

“He did, he left you in the dust,” a fireman said with a chuckle. We all tromped into the house and the blaring suddenly stopped.

“Did you have anything on the stove?”

“No.”

“Did you have a candle burning in the bedroom?”

“No.”

“We could smell something sweet in there,” he prompted.

“Oh well I have a Plug-In in there.”

They went on to tell me the fire alarms were all rather old. I said I would call the landlord. the first fireman said he left the detecter on the dresser next to the fan. I mentioned the neighbor burning grass and I could hear the eye roll in the first guy’s voice.

“He shouldn’t be doing that.”

I was so wishing he were, so he would get caught at no fault of mine. It was the smoke alarm’s fault.

The men left and I sent a thank you behind them.

Firemen. Even without vision I could tell they were hot. I was suddenly aware of the fact that I was wearing no braw under a t-shirt and men’s pajama bottoms. At least my hair was freshly cut!

B arrived five minutes after the men left and it was good he did because the smoke detector started chirping. We walked around the house thinking it must be one of the other ones but no, it was the same one. The fireman had pulled it off the wall and stopped the screeching but it still had its battery, which B promptly popped out. I left a message for the landlord, b went back to work, and I had my Thursday chat.

Not to worry, if I had smelled smoke, B would not have been my first call. It was a good learning experience. I will get another leash to keep by the front door and will grab Jayden’s harness in the event of an emergency so we can walk to the curb just like I learned in elementary school. The day was interesting, to say the least. And one word: firemen.

2 Comments

Filed under apple Inc, cats, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, man o mine, music, Silicone Sally, Timmy, twitter me this, working dog

March’s Audio books

*Eleven books this month*

I did not keep track of books very well this month beyond keeping a list. I must remember next month that unless I want hours of work at the end of April I must write as I go.

I’m pretty much calling the month of March a wash anyway since tons of medical appointments got me out of my good writing habits. How easy it is to have plans derail. since I’m on that MS drug Gilenya, I had to have several medical appointments plus it was time for my yearly check-up with my doc as well as Jayden’s health and wellness visit. My stupid blood came back not happy (thyroid and anemia) and Jayden is having pain in his neck. His pain has been the worst part of this month though it’s getting under control. The vet checked his blood and he’s not anemic like I am. We’re still waiting on the result of the valley fever test the vet ran. His pain could just be a pulled muscle for all we know and hope.

I’m up to nearly forty-five thousand words on the memoir. Last month’s post tells me I was at twenty-five thousand so I made some progress even with the stress of this month. I wrote a little fiction last week for something different and I submitted an essay on my life with MS after a friend on Twitter alerted me to a call for submissions but I never heard anything on it.

Anyway, on with Marche’s books. Oh, this time last year I was in St. Pete. hard to believe it’s been a year since #RoToTrop. Speaking of baseball, B and I went to Phoenix a few weeks ago for a spring training game between the Cubs and Brewers. Two of his co-workers met us there along with one of the co-workers seven year-old son for his first ever baseball game. Within five minutes of sitting down, the seven year-old got a foul ball a spectator caught and gave to him. How freaking cool is that? Oh, the kid also brought me a randy Johnson baseball card which was doubly cool since he’s one of two baseball players I can remember from my sighted days. Any guesses as to the other? Ok, now really on to March’s books.

34. “The Stranger” by Harlan Coben – narrated by George Newbern

finished March 30

Classic Coben, to be sure. However, I think this audio book proves that a narrator can really give a book that final push to greatness. I’m so used to Coben books being narrated by Scott Brick that I was truly disappointed this one had a different narrator. Newbern wasn’t terrible by any means but c’mon, you can’t compare anyone to Scott Brick.

Harlan Coben books have a wonderful sarcastic style perfect for Scott Brick. He drops the lines so flawlessly as to be constantly laugh-out-loud funny. I chuckled a few times while listening to ‘Stranger’ but I didn’t get the hours of enjoyment I’ve gotten with past Brick narrated Coben books. I found the book dragging for quite awhile until the mystery began to unravel and then I couldn’t stop. This book packed a gut punch I certainly was not expecting. Good book but not one of his best. I honestly don’t think i would have said that if Scott Brick had narrated.

33. “Without Fail” (Jack Reacher book 6) by Lee Child – narrated by Dick Hill

Finished March 28

I was reading “Gulliver’s Travels”, trying hard to get through it, when I just gave up one night and frantically began scrolling through books to find something I could get lost in when I scrolled to this one and thought, Jack Reacher to the rescue! Oh wow I just looked up the series to find which number book this was and I have the next book too! I do not remember starting to collect Jack Reacher books but that makes me happy haha. Man, it’s going to be hard to finish the American history book I’m reading knowing I have another jack Reacher…

Reacher books are just plain fun reads. Mystery, action, romance, dead-pan comedy, the whole nine yards. I get a kick out of an American series being written by a Brit. It works, that’s for sure. This one was just as good as all the others, if I’m remembering right. I read a lot. Oh hi there, Captain Obvious.

32. “gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift – narrated by David thorn

Gave up halfway through on March 24

This had been a daily deal that grabbed my attention and based on the publisher’s summary and reviews I picked it up. I found it so incredibly boring though. Ok yeah fantastical stories of his travels, first he’s a giant, then he’s tiny and by the time we got to the third story I just wanted a nice concrete story with constant characters with back stories and a beginning, middle, and end. This book reminded me of “A Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy” which I enjoyed though still had the same sense of ok yada yada let’s move on. I just couldn’t finish this book and that is really rare for me because I hate abandoning a book.

31. “Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials that Shape our Man-Made World” by Mark Miodownik – narrated by Michael Page

finished March 22

So, if I ever get the opportunity to hold aerogel, it’ll be one of the most fascinating days of my life. Yeah because commoners like me often get to hold a piece of awesome material that looks like sky. Yep. Happens every day.

This book was soooooo fun! Do you ever wonder why something is the way it is? Do you ever run to Google to ask? Then this book is for you. Absolutely fascinating stories of different materials and how they work the way they do. I worn you though, the chapter on chocolate is pure torture if you don’t have a chocolate bar so do yourself a favor and pick one up before reading this. That is however, unless you’re one of those rare people who don’t like chocolate.

Oh! Forgot I had jotted down this note while reading because I was so excited to have a chapter on pool, which was begun with a cute little screen play. I’m telling you, this book was just plain entertaining. Ok, my note: Billiard balls, sticks made with leather tips and covered with chalk to control the spin of the balls, brought to the west by the English, hence, putting English on the ball.

30. “The Woods” by Harlan Coben – narrated by Scott Brick

Finished March 21

I am so grateful I didn’t read this right before “The Stranger” because then it would have been even more difficult to go from Scott Brick to that other guy.

This book was freaking awesome. A twenty year-old murder, a lost first love, an eccentric hippy, a court drama and just when you think those are all the details to wrap your head around, Cold War Russia decides to make an appearance. What! Yep. And all read for you by the incomparable Scott Brick. Highly, highly recommend.

29. “Involuntary Witness” (Guido Guerrieri book 1) by Gianrico Carofiglio – narrated by Sean Barrett

Finished March 18

The things you learn when you get the links to books you’ve read. This book is the first in a series and I had no idea! There are four books out and I will definitely be checking them out. This must have been a daily deal that caught my attention though in the publisher’s summary it mentions the series. I blame subsequent brain fogs for forgetting that. Also, it’s not mentioned anywhere on the Audible page but announced at the beginning of the book that it was translated from Italian to English.

I really enjoyed a murder mystery set in a different country with different laws and different courts. Guido is a lawyer set to the task of defending a “non-European” (black) man accused of murdering a child. Having no faith in the Italian courts thanks to the Amanda Knox case, which coincidentally was back in the news just weeks after this book reminded me of it, I thought would take magic for guido to succeed. It truly is a seemingly hopeless case, if you believe in his clients innocence that is.

The book is a perfect mix of serious and humor and Guido is a relatable character battling past demons and what is quite possibly a mental illness. I’m glad to know there are more books!

I only wish they had gotten an Italian narrator. Barrett’s slight English accent is pleasant but not at all Italian sounding.

28. “The Weight of Silence” by Heather Gudenkauf – narrated by Jim Colby, eliza Foss, Cassandra Morris, andy Paris, Therese Plummer and Tony Ward

Finished March 16

As I was reading this I had to wonder if it was the author’s first book. Not because it was bad, just the opposite, but it just felt like a first novel. Was it the shifting points of view from first to third and even second which I’ve just never seen that gave me that impression? I’ve done that with my short stories but never would have dreamed of experimenting with all three in a novel. It works in this book though, it really does. Just now when I grabbed the link to the book page I discovered that this was indeed her debut novel.

There is such a large cast of characters in a relatively short novel that I can see why she wrote this the way she did. The delineation between all the characters was very well done and helped keep the story moving. Where are the girls? I mean where are they!

It reminded me a little of a gillian Flynn novel but with even more subtle darkness. I definitely enjoyed this book and will be reading more of Gudenkauf’s stuff.

27. “Tandia” by Bryce Courtenay – narrated by Humphrey Bower

Finished March 13

I don’t remember when I first began reading this book but it must have been last year. Actually yes, I think I remember making an egg salad sandwich while listening and that kick was sometime towards the end of last year. Anyway, I had to stop. the beginning of this book is just plain brutal as Tandia, a beautiful Indian/African has her first run-in with the South African police. What happens sets up her character and the police officer for what follows in the book as she becomes a freedom fighter of sorts during the days of Apartheid.

I decided to return to the book after my friend Ricardo, who also had to stop during the first reading, returned to the book and said it was really good. I’m glad I trusted him and returned and I’m also glad the Audible app keeps position because I was able to pick up where I left off.

Bryce Courtenay books are awesome and Humphrey bower is the perfect narrator for them. If I meet Courtenay in the afterlife I’m going to ask him what his deal was with incredibly obese women and prostitutes.

26. “Razorhurst” by Justine Larbalestier – narrated by Rebekka rimmington, Fiona Hardingham and David Ligudzinsi

Finished March 8

I was sooooo disappointed with this book. I had high expectations after reading Larbalestier’s tweets as she researched and wrote this book. I don’t know what went wrong. It had so much potential. I jotted some notes while reading:

The narrator that reads the Kelpie chapters sounds like she’s reading a Shell Silverstein book to kindergardners and is not enjoying it. I don’t understand the separate narrators.

The other female narrator sounds like she’s running out of air. And it sounds like there are commas in really odd places.

There was no description of 1930’s anything. No description of clothing. I’m shocked after all the research she did and movies she watched.

I just didn’t like it. It was neither an adult book nor a young adult book to me. It didn’t ahve the fun feeling I get when I read YA. I just didn’t like it.

End notes. Referring to the multiple narrators, I don’t understand why there was more than one narrator needed. the book shifts between two character’s points of views so that explains the female narrators I suppose but the chapters the man read were back story chapters. The book was just sort of a clustermug, to use a Stephen King word. I was so let down that’s why I ran to Bryce Courtenay.

25. “Seven for a Secret” (Timothy Wilde Book 2) by Lyndsay Faye – narrated by Steven Boyer

Finished March 5

I love Lyndsay Faye! I love these books, I love this narrator. Faye better write these books until she just can’t write any more haha. Beautifully written, intricate mysteries, fun and relatable characters, Faye has quickly become one of my new favorite authors. She’s on Twitter too, @LyndsayFaye, so I definitely won’t miss new books.

Timothy Wilde is a great guy but of course I’ve got a crush on his drug addicted, alcoholic, womanizing firefighter and politician brother Val. wow, after writing those words together I see just what a complex character Val is haha! No wonder I like him.

24.“Falling Glass” by Adrian McKinty – narrated by Gerard Doyle

finished March 2

I just read the Audible page and apparently McKinty is a fairly well known author of Irish mysteries. I love the authors I discover thanks to Audible daily deals.

This book was really good. It’s about a hitman who comes out of retirement to track down some rich guy’s ex-wife who has disappeared with the two kids. Sounds simple enough of a story line right? Oh there’s just so much more. Very good, wonderful narrator, funny and witty.

Here’s a note I jotted down:

Sudden inexplicable switch to second person narration that made no sense. A few words that sounded like maybe n editor’s note. Very odd.

Odd indeed, but great book.

2 Comments

Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, baseball, doc, fellowship, in the news, Jayden, man o mine, twitter me this, vet visit, writing

February’s Audio Books

*Twelve books this month*I’m grateful I kept decent track of February’s books. this is definitely the way for me to do my book posts methinks. I’m over 25K words into writing my memoir so the last thing I want to do is worry about getting behind on audio book posts even if it is a self-induced unnecessary goal ha! Do let me know if you read a book based on my mention of books here at the Roof, won’t you?

23. “Alas, Babylon” by Pat Frank – narrated by Will Patton

Finished February 28

Note I jotted just after finishing: Brilliant and timeless. I was shocked when the copyright was given at the end.

This book was so so so good. I’m scrolling down my library in the Audible app and reading books I bought on daily deals that I don’t remember buying. I downloaded this one since it’s narrated by Will Patton and I love him. At times I could hear him breathing rather audibly which was distracting but other than that he did a tremendous job as always.

This book makes it very easy to imagine what life would be like after nuclear war for the survivors. Highly recommend!

22. “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and other clinical tales” by Oliver Sacks – narrated by Jonathan Davis

Finished February 25

After Oliver Sacks’s name started appearing online since he came out publicly that he is dying of cancer, I checked my Audible library because I was pretty sure I had gotten this book on a daily deal and I had. The book was fascinating in the beginning but the latter half didn’t quite hold my attention since it dealt more with psychological issues without concrete diagnosis. The book is definitely worth reading however, especially if one is a medical junkie like I am.

21. “Naughty in Nice”(Royal Spyness book 5) by Rhys Bowen – narrated by Katherine Kellgren

Finished February 23

These books are just getting more and more fun and the mysteries getting a little more complex. I think this one might be my favorite thus far and such a good pallet cleanser after a rough book. ‘Naughty’ actually caused me to gasp with surprise at an unexpected turn of events which was a nice change from how I generally predict what happens with georgie and the other characters I’ve come to love in this series. I hope they never end!

20. “The Power of the Dog” by Don Winslow – narrated by Ray Porter

Finished February 22

This was a hard read. Not difficult writing just difficult material. The older I get I just can’t handle descriptive torture and this book had a lot in it. I’m glad Ricardo Recommended bookending it with light reads since the second I finished it last night I jumped into the next royal Spyness book.

I guess you can’t have a book about drug lords without disturbing torture. I also didn’t care for the way the narrative shifted when focus went to New York gangsters. The narrative literally changed from regular third person narrative to a bad grammar version of third person narrative. That’s the only way I can think to describe it and it was distracting. It makes me glad I decided not to play with switching narrative style from chapter to chapter in my fiction novel. Maybe “The Godfather” ruined me for all other mafia books.

(I’ve since learned in my writing studies that what I had described so badly as bad grammar third person narrative could better be described as a shift in prose from eloquent to rough though I’m not sure that’s accurate either since my studies are all self taught ha!)

Ray Porter was brilliant as always. I can’t say I recommend this book unless you’re ok with torture. I’m just not anymore. There also weren’t quite enough likable characters for me and there was so much unredeemed corruption. And the way women were viewed, oh man. It started really good but then about halfway through I just wanted to be done and to think about puppies.

19. “Royal Blood” (Royal Spyness book 4) by Rhys Bowen – narrated by Katherine Kellgren

Finished February 17

I love this series for a nice lite read. This one might just be my favorite so far. I remember being disappointed with the last one I read last year. I thought I might give up on the series but Ricardo recommended a book narrated by Ray Porter and said I’d want something lite before and after it. It was perfect since I had two credits and no plans for them so I bought the next two Royal Spyness books to bookend the one Ricardo recommended.

These books are just plain fun with fun characters and fun narrating. The murder mysteries aren’t exactly riddled with twists but they’re entertaining enough to keep you “turning the pages”. They are the perfect pallet cleansers between raw books that claw at the emotions. Just found @RhysBowen on Twitter. I love the spelling of her name!

18. “Freedom (™) (Daemon book 2) by Daniel Suarez – narrated by Jeff Gurner

Finished February 16

The sequel wasn’t as good as the first but it explained everything nicely and wrapped up the story so there weren’t any glaring loose ends. I found myself not knowing what side I was on since who was good and bad seemed to shift. That was a very uncomfortable place to be as a reader and I’d love to achieve that in my own writing some day.

I’ll definitely be reading more Daniel Suarez (@ItsDanielSuarez) and finding more books narrated by Jeff Gurner (@JeffGurner.

17. “Daemon” (Daemon book 1)by Daniel Suarez – narrated by Jeff Gurner

Finished February 13

Holy crap was this book ever freaking good! In the beginning some things turned me off but after we got past some of the early character development and the story really started flowing, holy crap! I just finished it and I’m so grateful there’s a sequel and that I have it because I’ve already started it. Wow! Thanks Ricardo, for the recommendation! I can’t speak highly enough about this book. Weee!

16. “Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden rivals that Ignited the Space Age” by Matthew Brzezinski – narrated byCharles Stransky

Finished February 9

I picked a book at random from my Audible library without reading its description or remembering anything about the book based on the title. It turned out to be about how the first ever space vehicle Sputnik was born and all the things it made possible. Sputnik wasn’t just a cool space toy, it’s the reason for student loans in America. What! yep.

The book started slowly after it began with a cool description of a missile in flight but after awhile it picked up and the characters involved in our past made it interesting and character driven. The more I learn about the Cold War, the more I am amazed we didn’t go to hot war with the USSR. That time in our history is fascinating and I’m so glad I read this book to add more to my vault of knowledge around the Cold War.

I only wish it had been narrated by someone like Scott Brick or Ray Porter. Maybe this narrator wanted to read the book straight or something but a Russian accent or two would have been nice. And listen how he narrates people gasping after a failed launch attempt: Click here.

I couldn’t help but smile when Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) was mentioned since I know an engineer who works there.

In my Twitter browsing today I ran across This article about the DSCOVR satellite set to launch today. Crazy coincidences. Gotta love them.

15. “The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes Novel” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – narrated by Simon Prebble

Finished February 7

I read this book in high school and remember liking it so when it was a daily deal I thought, why not? I enjoyed this reading as much if not more than my first time, especially since this time I was looking out for things Stephen King mentioned in his book on writing, though he specifically says he doesn’t read books to study them, just for the pleasure of them. I, on the other hand, study every single book i read, I can’t help it!

I was pleasantly surprised when ‘Hound’ was over to find a novella, ‘The Adventure of the Dancing Men’. Maybe it was mentioned on the Audible page but I don’t remember it, and it certainly wasn’t mentioned before ‘Hound’ started. I think I almost like this story better than the first! Definitely pick this up from Audible if you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan. The narrator is great, so no worries there.

14. “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King – narrated by Stephen King

Finished February 5

This book was just plain awesome. It begins with an autobiography of sorts of Stephen King, the ingredients that went into the recipe of an author if you will. I was immediately transported to books of his as he told stories from his youth and young adulthood.

I think anyone would enjoy this though when he gets to the part on writing, if you aren’t interested in writing, your mind will probably wander. I was riveted however. So much of it was stuff I’ve noticed in my own writing journey which only helped validate to me that I am a writer and a lot of it was just plain good info that I soaked up like a sponge. I’ll never forget the blue eight on the rabbit.

At the end, King talks about the accident that nearly killed him in 1999 when he was struck by a van while on his daily walk. I’ve always been curious about that. That experience definitely became more ingredients for his writing, evidenced in “11-22-63″. I’m so grateful I read “the Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins which led me to look her up on Twitter which led me to reading her tweet about this book being an influence of hers. I think it was the right time for me to read it. Oh, and Stephen King narrates, which is always fun to hear. He’s on Twitter, here. Oh and Stephen King hates abridged audio books as much as I do! Wahoo!

13. “Holy Cow: A Modern Day Dairy Tale” by David Duchovny – narrated by David Duchovny

Finished February 4

This was great! I don’t usually get books as short as this one which was three hours, but c’mon, it’s David Duchovny and I’m an X-Phile. The premise sounded fun and I needed fun after that sinister “In Cold Blood”. I lay in bed last night laughing my fool head off at “Holy Cow”. It’s awesome! If the premise sounds good to you, I highly recommend the audio book because Duchovny’s deadpan narration just adds to the fun. I loved this novella! It had a fantastic message too.

I must say I felt a little weird making a ham sandwich at the end of this book. sorry, Shalom.

12. “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote – narrated by Scott Brick

Finished February 3

I was in the mood for some Scott Brick narration and this had been a daily deal not long ago. I am reminded why I stopped falling asleep to the Investigation Discovery channel. I used to love true crime but now I just don’t like the way it makes me feel. Scott Brick said on Twitter the book was sinister. That is an excellent word for it.

I read Truman Capote’s Wikipedia page, reading about his friendship with Harper Lee literally one or two days before her sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird” was announced. Begin Twilight Zone music.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, in the news, twitter me this, writing

January’s Audio Books

I’m changing the way I keep track of books here on the blog. I’m going to experiment with writing a monthly post summarizing all the books I read, rather than writing a post for every single book which last year proved to be too overwhelming.

I listed these in descending order. I suppose that makes sense for the future if someone wants to read all the monthly posts. total books this month: Eleven.

11. “The Mime Order” by Samantha Shannon – narrated by Alana Kerr

Finished January 30

Oh man this book was so freaking good! If I thought “The Bone Season” was good, I had no idea what I was in store for with book two. The story picks up right where it left off in book one and Shannon does a brilliant job of recapping without being tedious and obvious. She weaves in reminders of book one as the story goes along in book two. ‘Bone Season’ was definitely the series set-up (see a few headings down). The story continues with non-stop action and intrigue. The dystopia takes on a very Victorian feel and has many more characters it seems than did ‘Bone Season’. I just did not want it to end! Did you ever see the French Film City of Lost Children? If so, that’s how I imagined this world looking. Very dark but with bright colors. The book is so visual! Shannon is just a brilliant writer, in my opinion. the novel is three dimensional, if that makes sense. It was like a movie in my head. Absolutely loved it. There were questions posed that leaves me impatient for book three. And Warden…*sigh*.

alana Kerr seems to have found her groove as a narrator, sounding more animated in this one and less like she was reading the phone book like in the first book. It’s fun watching these two women grow in their art! Samantha Shannon’s Twitter is linked a few headings down. You should become a fan of this awesome young lady!

10. “The Girl on the Train: A Novel” by Paula Hawkins – narrated by Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey and India Fisher

Finished January 27

I probably would have gotten done with this book faster but my friend Chupa was visiting so I didn’t read at all during the day. Her visit was so much fun! I converted my den into a guest room and couldn’t help but feel very adult with the purchase of an air mattress and guest towels. the weather was beautiful and we spent most of our time sitting outside listening to music, except for the day we took paratransit out for Mexican food and our traditional Walgreens visit. Be well. The first paratransit driver decided to give Chupa the whole experience by driving down bumpy roads on purpose. I was sad when she left on Wednesday night. We did an impromptu podcasty thing if you’re interested in our ramblings.

I saw a New York Times article about this book on Twitter and just so happened to have an extra Audible credit so I picked it up. This book is about an alcoholic who rides trains all day. Not like, cargo trains, passenger trains in and out of London?London I think. yes, London. I think, ha! She rides trains and tells herself stories about the people who’s homes she passes. She ends up getting involved in a missing persons investigation after one of the women who’s house she passes goes missing. Actually she pretty much inserts herself into it. It’s quite sad really.

The book is told from three different points of views, hence the three narraters. Every time we got back to the drunk I’d roll my eyes. She really did get tedious. Hawkins nailed the self absorbed alcoholic though, that’s for sure. She must have some sort of personal experience whether it’s herself or someone she loves. Maybe the alcoholic isn’t so tedious to a normie but for me, I just wanted her to get off the drunkalog and into the solution haha!

The mystery was really well done. Literally every character is a suspect. The drunk? The ex-husband? The red haired man? the psychologist? did the missing woman just run away? and each one gets some time in the red herring spotlight. The aha moment hit me about thirty minutes until the end of the book and then I sat on the edge of my seat waiting to see how the book would resolve. Excellent mystery! The three narrators were pretty good too, all very British which is just soothing. It was nice to read a current IT book haha. I found Paula Hawkins on Twitter.

Oh, my only pet peeve was some outdated technology. I have to wonder if Hawkins started writing this awhile back and didn’t catch phones with buttons and phrases like “logged on to the internet”. I’ve noticed outdated tech in my book that I’ve done some revisions on. Maybe it’s a snobby pet peeve ha!

9. “The Alienist” by Caleb Carr – narrated by George Guidall

Finished January 24

How interesting that I read a book narrated by Alana *Kerr* and then a book written by Caleb *Carr*, both names pronounced the same way. Am I the only person who notices things like that? Also, Steve Kerr pronounces his name differently than Alana: ker. Kerr, ker. Anyway…

Ricardo really really wanted me to read “The Alienist”. I’m glad I did, though I wasn’t sure at first that I would finish the book. It got off to a slow start in my opinion and the book begins with a gruesome murder of a child prostitute. It was tough to stomach. Slowly but surely however, the story drew me in as a psychologist, otherwise known as an alienist in 1896, his friend a reporter and a police secretary begin investigating the murders of the child prostitutes no one cares about. Special Victims Unit anyone?

This wasn’t a typical detective novel which was good because I’m pretty much sick of detective novels. This one had a fun historical fiction element and while the character development took awhile to click, when it did, I enjoyed the people very much. The criminal profiling was fascinating and had a ‘Silence of the Lambs’ feel about it. george Guidall is always a good narrator. I definitely recommend this book. I also want to see what else Caleb Carr might have out there. Thanks Ricardo! Oh, let’s see if Carr is on Twitter. I didn’t find a Twitter but I did find this site, which has info about his other books. I’m going to have to check it out since it sounds like there’s an Alienist movie and TV show. Interesting!

8.“The Bone Season” by Samantha Shannon – narrated by Alana Kerr

Finished January 19

I read this back in November of 2013. You can read my review here which I just did and I think it was a pretty good review. It’s interesting how differently I would have written about it this time around. Honestly it’s sometimes hard to write reviews about books which is why I got so far behind last year trying to write a single post for every book I read. I think a simple list in a monthly post will be much easier.

I read “The Bone Season” again because book two of the series was due out this month and I needed a good refresher since Shannon’s world is so complex. She tweeted links to a lot of good posts for a refresher but I just wanted to read it again. I got to follow Shannon on Twitter while she wrote the second book. So cool! I just adore her. You can follow her here.

1. – 7. The Kara Gillian series by Diana rowland – narrated by Liv Anderson

I started this series last year and finished the sixth book early This month. I often times will go back in a series and read a little bit of the first book in a series just to see how it all began. I did that with Kara Gillian and next thing I knew I was finishing the whole book. I just wasn’t ready to be done with Kara Gillian the summoner of demons, her friends and the demons themselves. I ended up reading the whole series again, enjoying being absorbed in pure fiction with fun and interesting characters, human and demon alike. I even bought a can of Cafe Du Monde coffee with chicory. I mixed some in with my usual coffee and it is most definitely an acquired taste. I drink coffee black at home but I found the chicory needed the sweetness of some Splenda to help off set the bitterness. It was fun to drink the coffee one of my new favorite characters drinks though! I highly recommend this series if you’re craving some pure escapism. In fact, is it April yet? I seriously cannot wait for April.

Book seven is out in April and I cannot wait! Diana rowland has put some quotes from the book up on Twitter, torturing her fans. Isn’t she kind? She is definitely one of my most favorite people. She never fails to make me laugh, both in her books and on Twitter. You can follow her here.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, coffeeholic, fellowship, hanging with ro, twitter me this

Blind People Can’t Do That – Changing our Expectations

My friend @BigBadEd sent me a link to a This American Life podcast episode this morning. I told him I’d listen while eating my serial, I mean cereal.

I had seen a retweet from Ed for a podcast asking the question, can expectations make blind people see. I gave it a split second thought about listening and then just kept reading tweets about the Golden globes and skipping passed pictures of cats. But then Ed specifically sent me a mention with a link to the podcast so I changed my mind and decided to listen. Why the initial hesitation? I had contempt prior to investigation and figured it was just more sighted people talking about something they think they know about even though they don’t. I trust Ed though and since he made it a point to bring my attention to the podcast, I decided it must be good. Especially since it’s a This American Life podcast and they brought us Serial which I loved. Also, the episode was called Batman. Huh? Did I hear that right? Yep, it’s called Batman and you can play it here.

I opened the tweet on my iPad and started the episode while I poured a bowl of chocolate frosted mini wheats. Shut up, they’re good.

The podcast begins with some fun science about rats that I found interesting. Maybe science is the wrong word. It was a social experiment with rats. Then it moved on to talking about this blind guy and I was like oh great a blind guy. A blind guy who clicks. This was nothing knew to me but it was entertainment while I ate my mini wheats.

This guy has been on the news showing off his clicking and I was like what’s special about him? He’s riding a bike which he can do because he can click? Before I went blind I saw a Dateline show or 20/20, one of those shows, about a blind kid who rode his bike and played basketball, all by clicking. Just the way this guy in the podcast rides his bike. the podcast acted like this had never been seen before and I just kept thinking about that kid I saw, literally months before I went blind. I even told B I should learn that clicking thing in case my other eye ever went blind. I clicked my tongue a few times, we had a laugh, I moved on. Just FYI, that is a really hard skill to learn, the clicking thing. He’s lucky he figured it out when he was a kid.

But then I warmed up to this guy on the podcast when he admitted how much he hates showing off his bike riding skills. It’s like, yeah I can ride a bike or bake cookies or take a computer apart or insert whatever it is that I or you or your kid or sister, blind or sighted, does. It’s like so what? That was this guy’s attitude.

One of the first blind people I met when I started getting my “blind education” at Saavi all those years ago is a guy just like this clicking guy except he doesn’t click. I was amazed by him, that he could get around the blind center without a cane. I was amazed by him because I was newly blind and didn’t have that confidence yet. Granted, I still would not walk around the blind center without a cane or Jayden like he does, but he was blind since he was a baby just like this clicking guy. When you learn skills as a child, it sticks.

*Aside* You know what’s weird? I had a dream about that guy just last night. The day before Ed sends me a podcast about a clicker guy who reminds me of dream guy. I was getting a manicure and the guy from Saavi walked in to tell me he got a Mac. He wanted to shake my hand but my nails were wet. Huh?*End aside*

So the podcast went on to talk about just that, and they talked to clicking guy’s mother and how she let him just be when he was a child. She let him climb trees and fences even when neighbors and the police told her oh no, he could get hurt. I was thinking, any kid could get hurt climbing a tree. I sure did when I was a kid. I remember watching a friend fall off our fence right on her face. We were all sighted. clicking guy’s mom let him be a normal kid and he’s grown up with the ability to see even though he has no eyes. The point was that her expectations for him were that he would be independent, especially when she saw how he developed ways of doing things without sight.

Ding ding ding! That’s when I got excited and thought about how my own blind life has been influenced by other people’s expectations for me. The point of the podcast was that we can see in our ways when the sighted stop putting expectations on us. There were interviews with other blind people, with professionals who work in the blind field etc. It turned out to be a very good podcast.

It got me thinking about how Saavi treated me when I started going there for training. They eased me into getting around there independently. On the podcast, they talked about how so many blind kids and newly blind adults are led around constantly, how food is brought to them etc. I thought back to my experience at Saavi and at Guide Dogs for the blind and they would certainly help you get around if you asked but they didn’t force the issue. After I learned how to use the white cane, I got around on my own at Saavi and actually led other blind people around who didn’t know the center yet. yes, the blind leading the blind. Saavi taught me how to safely use a knife and a stove. They taught by showing and then having us do. How else can one learn? I joke about Dave, my old orientation and mobility teacher, locking me in an elevator at the mall. Yes, it was a scary experience when he told me to go to the bottom floor and then come back up and then he walked out. My heart raced and I couldn’t believe he left me but how else was I to learn to do things on my own without him?

However out in the real world, people aren’t like the people at Saavi and GDB. They see a blind person getting near the street and freak the freak out. They don’t realize that being blind means we have to get up close and personal to something a sighted person can see from hundreds of feet away. I have to find a curb with my cane that you can see from way over there. Jayden can see it from way over there too but he has to take me right to it so I can feel it with my foot.

This is where the problem is and the podcast pointed that out when the clicking guy was working with a five year-old who had to find a curb by walking right up to it. His godmother freaked out and stopped the kid from learning how to do it his way.

Damn but this helped me understand the people in my life! When I’m on my own, I just do things. When I’m with B, the way I do things change. His expectations bleed on to me. When I’m out on my own I figure stuff out in my own way, the way I’ve had to learn to do. There’s no way sighted people can read my mind and know how I’m going to do something and the expectation is that “blind people can’t do that”.

Wow.

I never thought I would learn something about sighted people by listening to that podcast when it first started. Since I’ve gone blind I try to be an open book, to answer questions people have without getting offended because I remember when I was sighted being amazed by blind people. I don’t ever want to stop being open, but I did find myself being closed with that pesky contempt prior to investigation. I’m so glad I listened to it.

When the kid’s godmother stopped him while he was trying to find the curb, I thought back to an experience I had at the hotel in Florida. Jayden and I got lost and no one jumped out to help. I don’t think anyone was around or if they were, they were very quiet. Jayden and I wandered around for awhile until I got sick of being lost and asked a jogger for help.

That’s how it should bee. Don’t jump in and help because you assume someone needs it or that “blind people can’t do that.”

I could go on and on about this but just go listen to the podcast whether you’re blind or sighted. For the blind, it might shed some light for you on why the sighted are the way they are. For the sighted, well I can’t say what it might shed light on for you.

This goes so much deeper than how the sighted people’s expectations effect the blind. How about expectations about men and women, black and white? Could the root cause of all the isms out there simply be caused by expectations? We expect a woman to be weaker than a man, a white person to be better than a black person? Is it all down to expectations causing groups of people to be what they are? B thinks it would be dangerous for me to walk in my neighborhood since there’s no sidewalk, or along the nearby street that has a sidewalk but lots of driveways because he can’t imagine doing it the way I do it so that fear has rubbed off on me and I haven’t gone exploring even though I have the needed skills to avoid getting hit by a car. Heck, i pay more attention than some sighted people walking down the street texting. The news and social media expected the destruction in Ferguson. Did that have an effect on the people there? We expect people to act in a certain way so they do?

Food for thought.

PS – I appreciated that clicking guy said anyone could learn that skill and use it to ride bikes and hike and stuff as long as they didn’t have another disability stopping them.

Random Link from a Random Tab

A tab I had open when I opened the podcast link had a Mental Floss article about why electrical plugs are different in Europe. I thought I’d share for your inner Arthur Weasley.

1 Comment

Filed under Adjustment to blindness, blind opinion, dream, fellowship, GDB, Jayden, man o mine, no no sightie, Orientation and Mobility, plugs, twitter me this, white cane, working dog

2014 Audio Books and why I changed the format

It’s just a blog. It’s just a book list. they are just book posts. It’s just a yearly top ten list. right?

So why has it killed me and haunted me that I have to give up on the 2014 book list and not do a top ten list?There’s just no possible way I could write posts for all the books. There’s too much other writing I want to do and sadly, writing is pretty hard on my body. I’m up to the beginning of June on the list haha! There’s just no way. So I had to admit defeat and decide not to try and play catch up for 2014. Should I try and pick my favorite book from last year though? Perhaps.

I’m going to post the document in which I kept track of all the books from last year, up to the point where I stopped writing book posts. I thought some might enjoy seeing how I keep track and it ought to give you an idea of just how far behind I got.

Last year was just so crazy. i mean craaaaaazy. It’s no wonder the blog wasn’t top priority. There was so much work to do in order to get ready to move. I had to find a suitable house to rent and start going through the old two bedroom apartment, getting rid of stuff and packing. Talk about a mass purge! It was an incredibly therapeutic experience, literally throwing away my past lives. As I put hands on every single one of my possessions , a quick decision was made. If I couldn’t tell what i was holding, it either got donated or trashed. That means every single photograph.Every visual, non-tactile memory, gone. let go of. I made the decision to scale down my stuff. A lot. A lot a lot. And man did it feel good!

There was old junk jewelry of my mom’s. It’s gone now. I made peace with that, with her. It’s like I knew she was cool with the fact that I let that stuff go, that those possessions didn’t keep her on this plane with me. I feel like she’s with me stronger now that I’ve let those physical things go. I know that may not make any sense, but it does to me.

So while the preparation to move was cathartic and wonderful, it was a lot of work. A lot a lot of work. that I did on my own. B took care of his stuff, I took care of mine. he did all the heavy lifting of trash removal and donations though, thanks. B. I also hired a junk removal service to come and take some of the bigger items. They donate what they can and trash the rest. The stuff we moved fill this three bedroom house quite nicely. We’re no longer cluttered. All of the keepsakes I could not part with fit in Gamma’s cedar chest which now resides in my “Duchess Den”, so named since it was decided “girl cave” just didn’t sound right and my friend Professor Twain named me the Rays Duchess of the Arizona Territories, so my room in this house is called the Duchess Den. It’s a wonderful room. I’ll write about it some time.

Anyway, after the move and getting settled, which I did in one week, my MS decided it was pretty pissed at me for all the hard physical work and i ended up with four new brain lesions. Good thing I had established care with a new neurologist just before the move. I underwent steroid infusions which I wrote about in November. Check those posts out. I imagine they are rather entertaining now that I’ve gotten some distance from that. I’ve started an oral MS medication called Gilenya. I’ve been on it just under a month and it has been a challenge.

So, something caused me to write this today and post my unedited 2014 book list and after writing that, I’m really ok with not doing my book posts like normal. Extenuating circumstances and all that. 2015 is a new beginning and who knows how or if I’ll do book posts this year. I’ve gotten some good work done on my YA novel but I’m taking a break from that to start work on the memoir. Who knows, maybe it’ll make someone’s book list some day. Ok, let me look at this list and see if I can pick a favorite.

Took a break to read some Twitter and this tweet made me remember trashing my old journals during the purge. I was kinda glad I couldn’t read them, though I still felt a pang when I trashed them.

@SaraBareilles reading old journals is excruciating.

Ninety-six books in 2014 woo hoo! That’s up from seventy-one in 2013. I am such an addict!

Ok so I’m going to mention several books methinks. Just going down the list for starters, I think I can easily say one of my favorite stand-alone books was ‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St.John Mandel. I’m not going to write about books in this post though, so you’ll have to click the link if you’re curious. I highly recommend it. Any book mentioned in this post is highly recommended. My favorite author Scott Westerfeld had a new one this year, ‘Afterworlds’, and I read it twice, back-to-back so that was like four books since this book is two books in one. My friend Robin recommended ‘The Gods of Gotham’ by Lyndsay Faye and I’m so glad she did! The Dead Six series by Larry Correia and Mike Kupari is narrated by Bronson Pinchot who is right up there with Ray Porter and Grover Gardner for me, meaning if they narrate it, I buy it and I’m never disappointed, at least not in the narration. The Dead Six series rocks! A new favorite narrator is Luke Daniels who reads the The Brilliance Saga which also rocks. I got ‘Joe Ledger: Special Ops’ just for the interview with Ray Porter which had me grinning the whole time. I had read most of the shorts already but they were easy to hear again.

That gets me caught up to the other books I read last year and reviewed on the blog. There are some really great reads on that list as well.

I have to mention who I think is most definitely the most entertaining author I stumbled upon in 2014 thanks to Audible’s daily deals and that’s Diana Rowland, author of the White Trash Zombie series and Kara Gillian series which I am currently rereading. As soon as I finished the sixth book, I immediately began book one again. I just wasn’t ready to be done with the characters until April when the next one comes out. There were also many details that have become more clear during the second read through. This world is very complex. The narrator for the White Trash Zombie series, Allison McLemore, is most definitely my favorite female narrator. She’s terrific! I follow @DianaRowland on twitter and I just adore her.

Yikes, almost forgot Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy, The Tawny Man trilogy and the new Fitz and the Fool trilogy which only has one book out so far. These books are awesome and follow the life of Fitzchivalry Farseer. the only downfall to this series is the changing of narrators which is a major bummer. Robin Hobb and Diana rowland were most definitely my favorite authors last year.

Ok, I like how that wrap-up turned out. I think for 2015 I might try doing a monthly wrap-up like this post rather than stress about reviewing every single book since I go through them so fast. Audio books on iThings can be devoured quite quickly since they can be listened to no matter what you’re doing. Unless I’m sleeping or on the computer, I’m reading. It’s no wonder the books pile up. Here’s to a better 2015 for everyone! below is the unedited list I used to keep track of all the books.

Phew! Oh, all the ‘Demon’ books below are the afore mentioned Kara Gillian books. There are six out right now.

96. Touch of the Demon Finished December 30 So good

95. Sins of the Demon Finished December 27 (So good!)

94. Secrets of the Demon Finished December 25 (So good!)

93. “Blood of the Demon” by Diana roland – narrated by – Finished December 23 (so good!)

92. “Mark of the Demon” (Kara Gillian book One) by Diana Rowland – narrated by – Finished December 22 (So good!)

91. The Amityville Horror by – narrated by Ray Porter – Finished December 20 (So good!)

90. Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb – narrated by – Finished December 19 (Entertaining)

89. “The World’s Strongest Librarian” by – narrated by – Finished December 14 (Marriage Material)

88. “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett – narrated by – Finished December 12 (So good!)

87. “Revival: A novel” by Stephen King – Finished December 3 (So good!) *Shudder* Terrifying. Something happened.

86. Royal Spyness book 3 finished November 30 (entertaining)

Assassin’s apprentice again Finished November 28

85.All Farseer books ( Finished November 25 (Marriage Material)

81. Book 2 Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb – narrated by – Finished October 31 (Marriage Material)80. Farseer book 1 by – narrated by – Finished October 26 (So good!)

79. “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel – narrated by – Finished October 20 (So good!) Finished again October 23 (Marriage Material) Jeevan being on stage trying to save Arthur, the image of being there behind the curtain, drowning out the audience, what memories. It making a room with a high seiling, the wings with crevies.

78. “Midnighters #3: Blue Noon” (Midnighters Trilogy) by Scott Westerfeld – narrated by Voiceover (iOS Kindle app) – Finished October 19 (So Good!)

77. “Her Royal Pain” by – narrated by – Finished October 17 (Entertaining)

76. Dresden book by – narrated by – Finished October 14 (Meh)

75. Twain book – narrated by Grover Gardner – Finished October 10 (entertaining)

74. “Afterworlds” by Scott Westerfeld – narrated by – Finished September 26, read it again and finished the second time October 5 (So good!)

73. “Edge of Eternity” by Ken Follett – narrated by – Finished September 23 (Entertaining)

72. “The Maltese Falcon” by – Finished September 14 (Meh)

71. Sherlock book by Lyndsay Faye – narrated by – Finished september 13 (Entertaining)

70. “The Virgin Suicides” – Finished September 11 (So good!)

69. “Echo Burning” by Lee Child – narrated by Dick Hill – Finished September 9 (Entertaining)

68. “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson – narrated by – Finished September 5 (Entertaining)

67. “The Gods of Gotham” by Lyndsay Faye – Finished August 29 (so good!)

66. “Swords of Exedus” (Dead Six book two) by Larry Correia and – narrated by – Bronson Pinchot – Finished August 26 (Entertaining)

65. “Dead Six” (Dead Six book one) – Finished August 22 (So good!)

64. “The Silkworm” by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling – Finished August 18 (Meh)

57. – 63.Entire HarryPotter series – Finished August 14 (Marriage Material)Started Bryce Courtenay book but I was depressed so started White Trash Zombie again, read Harry Potter at night. Brian in Flagstaff

56. 4th Lincoln Perry book – narrated by Scott Brick – finished July 14 (Entertaining)

55. “A Welcome Grave” – narrated by Scott Brick – finished July 11 (Entertaining)

54. Second Lincoln Perry book – Finished July 9 (Entertaining)

53. “Tonight I Said Goodbye” – narrated by Scott Brick – Finished July 8 (So good!)

52. Dresden book – Finished July 6 (Meh)

51. “How the White Trash Zombie got Her Groove Back” by Diana Rowland – narrated by Allison McLemore – Finished July 3 (Marriage Material)

50. “Wicked Girls” – finished July 1 (So good!)

49. “Doc: A memoir” – Finished June 28 (Entertaining)

48. “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay – narrated by Humphrey Bower – Finished June 26 (Entertaining)

47. “A Better World” by Marcus Sakey – narrated by Luke Daniels – Finished June 20 (Marriage Material) Terrifying. I was listening while doing dishes and felt a tremendous sense of fear as US soldiers coralled American refugees

46. “A Hymn Before Battle” – finished 6/18 “Meh”

45. “A Kiss Before Dying” – finished June 13 (So good!) Twitter made me jump. Wish I hadn’t heard the forward.

44. “The Descendents” – Finished June 12 (So good!) Sid rocks

43. “Joe Ledger: Special Ops” by Jonathan Maberry – narrated by Ray Porter – Finished June 10 (Entertaining)

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2014 Book List, Audio books, Gamma, mom, new year, spoons, twitter me this

Thanks for everything, NaBloPoMo

Well NaBloPoMo is over for another year. I can’t say I’m sad to see it go. This month was most definitely not what I had planned. But, MS doesn’t care about your plans.

November is ending on an awesome note though. My writing slump is officially over and I am hard at work on the novel. I’m rediscovering it as I revise and refine the zero draft I wrote so many years ago and it is a joy to see my characters come alive again. I wrote all day yesterday instead of just one chapter and boy did I pay for it in the middle of the night. I woke up in such pain in both shoulders I frightened B by creeping into the kitchen to heat up my heating pad thing. It’s my own fault for not stopping and stretching my muscles yesterday. In my defense, my writing pain is usually my forearms and they were fine so I guess the pain has shifted to my shoulders. I will be calling my massage therapist this week.

I’m hoping to continue writing posts here since I’d like to finish what I started at the beginning of the month with the book posts with life updates sprinkled in. I’m also very grateful the Roof and NaBloPoMo did what I hoped it would and jump p started the writing. Success! Ok, not going to edit, just publish. I’ve reached the cave scene in my revisions and I’m excited.

Leave a Comment

Filed under gratitude, NaBloPoMo 2014, spoons, writing

Walking and Writing

I’ve gotten a lot of work done on the novel today and I really want to get back to it but I need to write today’s post. Dang NaBloPoMo haha.

This afternoon B walked with Jayden and me to check out our street. It’s a nice residential street but unfortunately there are no sidewalks. We walked down our side almost to the end before turning back towards home. Jayden was very distracted by smells along the curb but he did a decent job of staying on the curb. I had to recall my sidewalkless street training from GDB and do a curb check every once in awhile. We crossed the street to go back and he was obsessed with trying to go up driveways. There’s an area near the house where there’s a complex of duplexes and there’s a sidewalk in front of them that Jayden happily took me to. It curves around alongside the main road so we followed it for a bit but there’s houses along there and B didn’t like the driveways. I think I’m going to check with GDB and see when there might be a representative out this way to do a refresher and help me learn the area. It was nice to take a walk with B though! He just sees the world as a sighted person with every danger a sighted person sees for the blind without the training to know what the blind can use their ears and guide dog to “see”.

I had started work on the novel this morning, taking a break for the walk, and then got right back to it. I got a few chapters done today. I’m learning I like to write by chapter. I’m taking out bits of the novel I had written years ago and refining it and shaping it. I’m getting good feedback from my test reader so it’s very exciting! Ok, back to it. Not editing this post. I want to get back to work.

Leave a Comment

Filed under GDB, Jayden, man o mine, NaBloPoMo 2014, working dog, writing