My Reading Year

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“Overdue Book Calendar” auntjune’s Etsy shop.

As the New Year approaches, I have begun a review of this one. What did I accomplish, what did I fail to accomplish, what is worth remembering and what would I rather forget? I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to the San Miguel Writers Conference, attending the Carnegie Center of Lexington’s Books in Progress Conference, the Kentucky Women Writers Conference and the Appalachian Writers Workshop. I met and learned from a number of wonderful writers, including: Rosalind Brackenbury; Jacinda Townsend; Marie Manilla; Hannah Pittard; Ronni Lundy; Scott Turow; Rebecca Gayle Howell; Robert Gipe; and David Joy. Most overwhelmingly joyously, I signed with Folio Literary Management’s Senior Vice President Erin Cartwright Niumata for representation. My website is up and running, pameladae.com, and Erin has my novel “After the Race” out to multiple editors and publishers for sale. It’s been a busy, exciting, successful year and I am so thankful for all those who have helped and guided me.

And I’m thankful for you readers. On average, about 100 people read this blog daily. I hope you have found a book you weren’t aware of, or a recipe, or maybe a playlist. I hope it’s made you laugh, or curious, or on occasion, thoughtful.

Today, I’m providing an overview of the books read in my book club. Tomorrow, I’m going to reveal my best reads of 2015 — not necessarily published in 2015. And as always, I’d love to hear what your book club is reading, what your favorite book of 2015 was, what you’re cooking or listening to while you read.

Book Club 2015 Reads

I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzal. Published in 2013, this is the autobiography of the teenage Nobel Prize winner. Our hostess served a Mediterranean platter of hummus, tzitaki, vegetables and pita.

A Dog’s Purpose, Bruce Cameron. See my earlier post: https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/a-dogs-purpose-is-apparently-to-make-me-cry/

Delta Scarlett

A Touch of Stardust, Kate Alcott. This novel, published in 2017, is supposed to be about a young woman from Indiana who becomes involved in the lives of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard during the filming of Gone with the Wind. It was simplistic, a bit silly, and our book club was not impressed.

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins. This book was a success with everyone. See my earlier post: https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/crossing-the-tracks-girl-on-the-train-by-paula-hawkins/

Life after Life, Kate Atkinson. Also a big success. I’ve posted about Life After Life and Atkinson’s follow-up A God In Ruinshttps://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/06/06/as-the-world-re-turns-life-after-life-and-a-god-in-ruins-by-kate-atkinson/

Saint Monkey, Jacinda Townsend. Whenever we can find a novel that has a Saint Monkey covertie to our locale, we certainly try to read it. Townsend’s Kentucky to New York odyssey had us in thrall. See my earlier post: https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/growing-up-saint-monkey-by-jacinda-townsend/

We Were Liars, E. Lockhart. A Kennedy-esque mystery of sorts. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/08/10/kennedyesque-we-were-liars-by-e-lockhart/

archie ap comicUnbecoming, Rebecca Scherm. Another guessing game involving a triplet of would-be thieves with literary undertones and one of our favorites. I need to blog about this. Author Rebecca Scherm, as I understand, went to the same high school as I did.

Black Chalk, Christopher J. Yates. Another twisty page-turner that I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about! Look forward to that one.

Under the Wide and Starry Sky, Nancy Horan. The author of Loving Frank, which we all loved, followed up with this novel about Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife, which we did not love. See my earlier post: https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/rls-under-the-wide-and-starry-sky-and-treasure-island/

Logo_-_MameMame, Patrick Dennis. Who doesn’t love Auntie Mame with her outrageous clothing, behavior, match-making and travels? It was a perfect, classic to end the year.

 

So there’s our year of book club reads. Tomorrow, my favorite reads of 2015.

Happy Reading!

 

 

A Dog’s Purpose (Is Apparently to Make Me Cry)

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My dogs, Eliza & Cleopatra

Bruce Cameron swears he wrote this novel because at the end, the dog doesn’t die.  BAH.  The dog dies three times!  And that’s not a spoiler.  It’s the premise of  A Dog’s Purpose, A Novel for Humans that Toby-Bailey-Ellie-Bear-Buddy is one dog who reincarnates to find his/her “real purpose” for being born over and over again.

A Dog’s Purpose is written in first-dog point of view, sharing important dogisms, theories and understandings.

“Dogs have important jobs, like barking when the doorbell rings, but cats have no function in a house whatsoever.” Bailey’s dim view of cats extends to horses and ducks.  But he likes other dogs.

    In the Yard I quickly adjusted to life in the pack, I learned to love Señora and Carlos and Bobby and just when my play with Coco was starting to assume a different, more complex character, we were taken to visit the nice lady in the cool room and the urgency I’d been feeling went completely away.

Bailey, the dog’s second incarnation, finds his true purpose when the little golden retriever escapes a bad situation and is rescued by Ethan’s mom.  When Bailey meets ten year old Ethan, doggy angels sing.  “I guess I had never bothered to consider that there might be such a thing as a boy, but now that I had found one, I thought it was just about the most wonderful concept in the world.”

Now, this book spent 52 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and brucecameron.com claims it has the highest reader-ranking of any “recent book on the New York Times best-seller list.”  Everyone from Temple Grandin to Alice Walker has endorsed it.  And it’s a great book.  But to claim that A Dog’s Purpose is not a sad book, is completely disingenuous.

IMG_1554My dog Abra

In the end, though, A Dog’s Purpose is like my relationships with dogs.  I love them beyond words.  And when they must go, I grieve them.  But the love exceeds the grief beyond measure.

MENU

 Deconstructed Bangers and Mash  This is one of my favorite Boxing Day recipes but it works for A Dog’s Purpose.  I buy the little smokies beef sausages and cook them in the oven at 350 until browned.  Then I find the smallest newimg_3774 potatoes I can and scrub them, roast them whole with sea salt, pepper and olive oil.  When both are cooked, stack a potato and a sausage on a toothpick.

You could serve hot dogs, but I don’t eat those so I wouldn’t serve them.

Keebler makes a dogbone shaped cracker for people called Scooby Doo! Baked Graham Cracker Snacks.  I would serve these with fruit (grapes and berries) and a yogurt and honey dipping sauce.  I make the sauce using a container of Greek yogurt, honey to taste and cinnamon.  It’s simple and tastes great and is healthy than sour cream and much better with fruit.

Puppy Chow:  My family’s favorite Christmas snack.  My mother makes several pounds of it in November.

  • 9 cups Rice Chex™, Corn Chex™ or Chocolate Chex™ cereal (or combination)
  • 1cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2cup peanut butter
  • 1/4cup butter or margarine
  • 1teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2cups powdered sugar
  • Place cereal Into large bowl, set aside.
  • In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
  • Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

MUSIC

Man of the Hour, Norah Jones (MY FAVORITE!)

Hound Dog, Elvis Presley

Walking the Dog, Rufus Thomas

My Dog and Me, John Hyatt

Black Dog, Led Zeppelin

Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey?, Harry Connick, Jr. (and many others)

My Buddy, Frank Sinatra’s version is nice

Beer for My Horses, Toby Keith

Your Song, Ellie Goulding

MOVIE CAST

Really, the dogs are the most important characters, except for Ethan.  Dreamworks has a movie in development.

Ethan:  Zach Efron or Chord Overstreet (From Glee)

Hannah:  Carrie Underwood or Hayden Panettiere

Happy Reading!

Link to the Book Trailer video:  https://www.youtube.com/embed/px_8id3qPeQ“>