Bookish Summer: Non-Fiction Reads

I’m a fiction writer, and a fiction reader, for the most part. But today’s post is all about non-fiction. Hello! If you’re just tuning in, this is one of the final stops on the Bookish Summer Blog Hop Tour. At the bottom of the post is a schedule so you can go back and catch up on all the great book conversations we’ve had this month.

Today’s topic is: The last non-fiction book you finished reading.

Tangled in Text Logo

Kelli Quintos www.tangledintext.com

“We just tiptoe around things, afraid we’ll offend or look ignorant, be misunderstood. Honesty is a risk few are willing to take.” – Flow by Kennedy Ryan 

Leslie Conzatti

Leslie Conzatti www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com

I… don’t read a lot of nonfiction, quite honestly! I’ve only read from a select few… one of those being Felicia Day. Her book You’re Never Weird On The Internet (Almost) is a beautiful dissection of somebody who is instantly relatable and very much All Of Us. Sure, she had different opportunities than you or I might experience, and her list of achievements is astonishing–but she gives the backstage glimpse, the real-world perspective, the oftimes harsh reality of the whole situation–while imparting the nuggets of wisdom and truth as only  she can. Reading her book inspired me to write an entire blog post on “How I Learned To Stop Hiding And Embrace My Own Weird” and I hope one day to achieve her level of confidence and charisma!

 

Allie Bock http://girlwithagoodbookandherdog.blogspot.com

The last non-fiction read I read was The Eighty Dollar Champion. It’s a true rags to riches story. The book also has photos from real life.

Book Blurb from Goodreads:

November 1958: the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Into the rarefied atmosphere of wealth and tradition comes the most unlikely of horses—a drab white former plow horse named Snowman—and his rider, Harry de Leyer. They were the longest of all longshots—and their win was the stuff of legend.

Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a bleak winter afternoon between the slats of a rickety truck bound for the slaughterhouse. He recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up horse and bought him for eighty dollars. On Harry’s modest farm on Long Island, the horse thrived. But the recent Dutch immigrant and his growing family needed money, and Harry was always on the lookout for the perfect thoroughbred to train for the show-jumping circuit—so he reluctantly sold Snowman to a farm a few miles down the road.

But Snowman had other ideas about what Harry needed. When he turned up back at Harry’s barn, dragging an old tire and a broken fence board, Harry knew that he had misjudged the horse. And so he set about teaching this shaggy, easygoing horse how to fly. One show at a time, against extraordinary odds and some of the most expensive thoroughbreds alive, the pair climbed to the very top of the sport of show jumping.

Here is the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo, based on the insight and recollections of “the Flying Dutchman” himself. Their story captured the heart of Cold War–era America—a story of unstoppable hope, inconceivable dreams, and the chance to have it all. Elizabeth Letts’s message is simple: Never give up, even when the obstacles seem sky-high. There is something extraordinary in all of us.

 

My last non-fiction read was a memoir: Call me Adam by Arthur Adam. Arthur grew up poor in a small town not far from where I live. His memoir details his path from poverty and abuse to successful businessman. He is honest about his mistakes and his faults and the story reads like he’s sitting there talking to you. I had the chance to talk with him as we read his memoir for book club and he joined us one evening, and he’s an entertaining man with a storyteller’s voice.

Do you read non-fiction? What type? What was the last one you finished? Check out the rest of the tour! There’re a few days left but this is my last day hosting. Have a great summer, and keep reading.

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A Bookish Summer: Best School Reads

School is out for the summer over here, but that doesn’t stop us from reading, or from talking about books! Welcome to the halfway point of the Bookish Summer Blog Hop. At the bottom of this post is a schedule so you can catch up on any posts you missed.

Today we are discussing the very best books we had to read for school.

Tangled in Text Logo

Kelli Quintos www.tangledintext.com

I only remember reading two books for school. The others I sparknoted or BS’ed my way through the book reports. They were The Outsiders by  S. E. Hinton and Animal Farm by George Orwell and although they were both superb, I’m still quite obsessed with Animal Farm. I had no idea a book could be that awesome, when I hated reading at that time. I loved that a book could say one thing and mean another and just have a darker, twisted agenda than ever expected. That was the first book discussion I ever participated in during class and I still remember getting enthusiastic because of all the different ways people interpreted scenes and meanings.

Leslie Conzatti

Leslie Conzatti www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com

One of the benefits of being homeschooled was that I got to choose what I read, or at least choose how fast I read things or in which order. Basically, we had this “Master Reading List” to go through, and as soon as I finished one I could go right onto the next one. I loved to read, and the bookshelves at my house were always full of classics and obscure books from the early 1900’s, or from the Victorian era. But as far as assigned reading, I would have to go with one of the books I read in college, for a class on The Life And Works of Jane Austen. Yep, I got to read romance novels for one whole quarter! My favorite out of that was Persuasion. Just the simple, straightforward protagonist, Anne, whose only goal was to do right by everybody and not to meddle with other people, and who got blamed for a whole lot… I really connected with her on many different levels, and I just enjoyed that novel immensely. So much, in fact, that I wished to give it more adaptations, as has been done with Pride and Prejudice over and over again. I have a contemporary adaptation, as well as a dark fantasy mashup that I hope to write someday!

Jo Linsdell author Pic Feb 2018

Jo Linsdell www.JoLinsdell.com

By far it has to be The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. This book really touched me, and is, in part, responsible for me becoming a writer. It was so raw, and powerful. I felt like I was there with her. I’ve always been interested in history too so it fascinated me to read about the details of that time. I truly believe that everyone should read this book.

Rachael Beardsley

Rachael Beardsley https://variancefiction.wordpress.com/

My favorite book from high school was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. We were supposed to read it during freshman year, but we ran out of time. We’d already paid for our copies though, so they were given to us anyway. Funnily enough, I hated the book the first time I tried to read itI couldn’t get interested in the story at all. But I picked it up again some time in junior or senior year and immediately loved it. The story was suddenly powerful and I couldn’t put the book down. I’m not sure why it failed to click with me the first time, but I’m so glad I tried again!

Two Cities

Brandy Potter www.brandypotterbooks.com

I had a heck of a time with this. I honestly struggled. The Diary of Anne Frank, The Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, Lord of the Flies how do you pick just one? I mean all of them influenced my reading so much. And Anne Frank made me question my pride in my German Heritage (luckily I found out that we immigrated before WWI so…) but having to pick one, I went with A Tale of Two Cities. With characters like Madam Defarge, Dr. Mannette, Sydney, and Charles that just grip you. And how amazing like a reverse Prince and the Pauper… I don’t want to spoil it so.. But this book made me realize that romance can exist in a book and not make it mushy and icky. Which is now why I write romance lol.

 

I have a BA in English so I read a lot of books over the years. Einstein’s Dreams was one we read in high school and it really stuck with me. In grade 3 we read The BFG by Roald Dahl. In university it would have been The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde.

School doesn’t bring up the best of memories all the time – the work, the boring hours spent in a classroom, bullies, bologna sandwiches, but maybe there’s a silver lining in there somewhere. What were your favourite teacher-assigned books? And don’t forget to visit the rest of the tour.

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A Bookish Summer: The Very Best Villains

Welcome to stop #6 on the Bookish Summer Blog Hop. Yesterday was hosted by Leslie Conzatti  and the topic was “Some of your favourite authors”.

Today we are discussing villains. The bad guy makes the book go round. Or at least they make the plot go forward. We all love to hate a bad guy, and a really well written bad guy can ramp up the tension of a book until we just can’t put it down.

Here are some favourite villains:

Jo Linsdell author Pic Feb 2018

Jo Linsdell www.JoLinsdell.com

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of the Shepherd series by Ethan Cross. One of the main villains in this series is Francis Ackerman Jr, a prolific serial killer. He’s brutal, cunning, and dangerous. There are so many parts to his personality though, and whilst he is incredibly evil you somehow end up feeling sorry for him and even rooting for him at times.

 

Rachael Beardsley

Rachael Beardsley https://variancefiction.wordpress.com/

The main character from The Minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes. Calling him a villain would be inaccurate, but he definitely did things that were…. not good, to say the least. The book follows the true story of Billy Milligan, a man diagnosed with multiple personalities. It doesn’t take long before the reader begins rooting for him despite his crimes. He was treated at the psychiatric hospital that’s now a part of my college’s campus, so for me, it was very surreal to read descriptions of places I see every day.

Andy

Andreas Ganz: https://www.facebook.com/GraftonGanz/

Hmm. That’s tough. If you’d said movie, it would have been an easy choice. From a book? I’d have to go with The Cardinal from The Three Musketeers. No, you know what, change that to Svidrigailov Crime and Punishment.

He is seriously a bad piece of shit no grey what so ever and totally un- apologetic – you cannot read it and not hate the guy … but the Cardinal is snippy, more of a clown than a villain, you know what, I change my mind, go with the first answer.

 

As for me? I’d say Dr. James Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes and Randall Flag from Stephen King’s The Stand.

Moriarty was such a wonderful pairing for Holmes and you could sense a mutual admiration beneath the loathing. He was sharp, calculating, and deceptively charming. Not to mention educated and well-dressed. He was a villain with ambition and drive, not just a random mad-man.

Randall Flag, on the other hand, was a man bent on destruction for the sake of destruction, a master manipulator and deceiver. He had a dark magic at his disposal and he used it to twist a horrible situation into something far worse, drawing the conmen, the manipulators, to him to build an empire from the rubble.

 

So, now it’s your turn. Who is your favourite book villain and why? And why not check out the rest of the tour?

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You’re Halfway Through a Book & not Loving it. Quit or Committed?

Just another stop on the summer blog hop

Books, Life and Other Oddities

What’s this? A post on Tuesday AND Wednesday?? I know what you’re thinking- that I have no life. You wouldn’t be wrong but there is a special reason I’m posting oddly frequently- I’m hosting a stop on The Bookish Summer Blog Hop, a blog hop that runs between July 1st-31st

And since this involves liaising everyone else’s answers I have to act responsible and not just warble on for a whole post as per. I’ve already started warbling about warbling, so we’re off to a great start.

Here’s the big questions (also featured in the title): You’re halfway through a book & not loving it. Quit or committed?

My Answer

As a dedicated, efficient, totally not easily distracted reader I would put the book down for a little while… and definitely, maybe, potentially  coming back to it later…

It’s just novels are so often topical and sometimes…

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