Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sunday Salon: March 20, 2016

What a nice spring break we celebrated here in Kansas City. The weather even cooperated: we had some sunny warm days along with some much needed rain, and even a few snowflakes at the end.


While I didn't necessarily plan it, I had a pretty big reading week.

First, I finally completed The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah. My struggle with this book had nothing to do with the author's writing style (I am in awe of her vivid descriptions) or the storyline (she creates such compelling characters I swear I would recognize them on the street). But instead, I struggle with the time period.

I know the importance of remembering the atrocities of Hitler and World War II, but my imagination runs wild and I can hardly handle the emotional flood as I read.  I wanted to discover what happened to the two sisters, Isabelle and Vivianne - but I could only read in short bursts of time.

In the end, I am glad I persevered. I would give this book high marks, not only for the well-told story, but also for the poignant writing of difficult events we should never forget.

I drove south for a midweek getaway and decided I would try to fill the four-hour car ride by listening to a book. For long-time readers of this blog, you may remember that audiobooks and I have not had a good relationship in the past. I find them exhausting.

But because of Laura's great review last Sunday, I decided to give them one more try. I obtained a copy of Blame on CD from my local library and managed to listen to a little more than half of the book on the round trip. GREAT book - GREAT audio experience - and I'm excited to try some more. Any recommendations?

Lastly, I quickly skimmed two more MG novels to keep my mind in-tune with that age group. One was the first book in a new series by Robin Newman entitled: The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake. The story takes place on Ed's farm where two mice detectives must solve the clues to the missing food mysteries. There is plenty of humor, adorable play-on-words, and a clever enough plot to keep children entertained.

The last book I read could possibly be considered a modern-day classic (of sorts): Island of Time by R. A. Montgomery. This is one of the many popular choose-your-own-adventure stories from the 1990s. I'm not sure how I missed this engaging series, but I adore the concept! In fact, I wonder if my own children would enjoy reading more if they had the opportunity to relate to the text in such a meaningful way.

I would love to adapt my own MG novel to this interactive format, but I'm not sure I have the imagination to develop so many different storylines.

I'm somewhat surprised there aren't more books like this available today. Was it a fad that lost its appeal?


I got away for a couple of days this week so I could devote time to writing.

My husband had business appointments in the morning, which afforded me a solid 3-4 hours each day to write without interruption. And I did... sort of.

I began to pre-write the A-Z challenge posts and made some good headway there. And writing is writing, right?

I also started outlining the chronology of events in the search of Cassatt's missing dog. I know the Paris sights I want to visit, and I know the logical order of the chase.

But truth be told, all of this was a way to justify procrastination.

Writing non-fiction is well within my comfort zone. Planning and outlining and researching are my strengths. But crafting a fiction story is nearly torture for me.

I still have no conflict. I still don't know how the various characters will intersect and relate to one another. I still don't know if I want the focus to be on art appreciation or a tour of the city.

But as Julia Cameron quoted on social media this week: A page at a time, a day at a time, we slowly build strength.

Consistency, perseverance, endurance (and perhaps a bit of stubbornness) will help me win the race.


... In case you missed any posts this week:


I did make good on last week's promise to take myself on an artist's date with my camera to the arboretum. The weather was spectacular and the first signs of spring quite evident.

 As I indicated above, my husband and I went on a midweek getaway to Springfield, MO, where we visited local coffee shops and enjoyed relaxing dinners. I had hoped to take my camera on another date and visit Sheldon the giraffe at the Wild Animal Safari, but rain thwarted those plans.

Instead, we visited the local scrapbook store where I oohed and aahed over all the paper, stickers and embellishments. Perhaps next week I will report having some "fun" scrapbooking.


  1. I just got a copy of Blame in from the library. I haven't started it yet, as I am relishing Lonesome Dove.

    There have been a few attempts to bring back the CYOA books for children, but none of them have been successful. I am mystified as to why.

    1. I hope you enjoy Blame - it isn't necessarily a book to savor, but I do enjoy the writing.

      I would love to do a bit of research and discover why CYOA books went out of fashion... but then that would be just one more way to procrastinate :)

  2. I'm SO excited you're enjoying Blame!! I just picked up People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. I'm not very far into it, but it's full of diverse cultures and exotic locals. Sounds like despite the rain you had a fun spring break get away :)

    1. I hope to finish Blame today :)

      People of the Book sat on my shelves for years, but I never got around to reading it. I look forward to your review.

  3. I love audio books and have found, for me, first person narrative works best when I listen. That way, it's like someone is telling me a story. I also love narrative nonfiction audios.

    1. I never thought of the POV affecting my listening ability - GREAT suggestion!

      I also think non-fiction books (self-help and memoirs) would be good for me as well.

  4. Our daffodils are blooming. But they have snow on them this morning! I trust that won't last long.

    1. We had a few flurries here, but nothing stuck. They are calling for temperatures near 80 degrees by Tuesday - CRAZY!!

  5. Glad you had such a good break week and hurray for audiobooks! Despite having The Nightingale on my kindle, I keep avoiding it. It's the time period for me, too... must choose my reading time carefully.

    1. Oh JoAnn - I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has to monitor my reading of this historical period. Although... I would still suggest reading The Nightingale, when the time is right for you.

  6. So happy to hear that you had a nice time this week, both with your camera, your listening, and your getaway. Good for you, Molly. Sounds 'fun'! As to audiobooks, I have found personally that it took some practice on my part to get really used to listening and not getting distracted. One tip I might have is to listen to a book that you've already read and loved. Also a good narrator. I can recommend Simon Vance and Caroline Lee. I recently finished one of Kate Morton's books, THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN. It was very good.

    1. I learned the narrator makes a HUGE difference, Kay! Thanks for the recommendations - I will be sure to check them out :)

  7. I'm not a big fan of audiobook either, but I'm making a note with Blame, since you enjoyed it so much. I can say the last audiobook I really enjoyed was The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova.

    Nice to hear you had such a nice week! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I adored Swan of Thieves when I first read it years ago.
      Perhaps I should "re-read" via audio (?) Thanks for the suggestion :)

  8. I am so glad you liked The Nightingale. THat was one of my favorites from last year!


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