Tag Archives: Goodreads

Changes Constantly Afoot

To say that the past several months were busy for me is an understatement. When last November rolled around, I consciously thought about making 2017 a Year of Change. January came, I turned the page in my calendar to begin 2017, and so it has been. I took on more worthwhile and enhancing activities, and worked on closing some tasks and projects that were dogging me for months – and in some cases, years.

I also:

  • will be published this month in a grand publication, which will include both my poetry and photographs (stayed tuned for when that happens!);
  • published several poetry chapbooks and a poetry anthology;
  • returned to reading books (almost) every day, and writing reviews;
  • am writing letters to family and friends more habitually;
  • ate more wisely, which leads towards me feeling better;
  • cleaned out my family recipe clippings, including duplicates and triplicates;
  • found just the right photograph albums to prepare organizing my pictures and memorabilia;
  • pared down possessions that either reminded me of people or events that are best left in history’s garbage can;
  • stayed off most social media, except where it benefits my writing and business;

“Optimism”
Original photography by (c)Susan Marie Molloy, 2017.

There is much more, many events beyond my control or even within my radar, but nonetheless made this a memorable year.  A friend with whom I needed to stay away from (remember the 2016 elections?) recently contacted me with hat in hand to apologize for contributing to fake news and hyperbole.  I’ll let bygones be bygones; I believe she’s sincere.

I am trying hard to let go of the aggravation of people not thanking. It’s beyond my understanding how there seems to be more and more people who just don’t thank, or even acknowledge, anymore. Letting go and understanding that it’s a matter of different upbringing – or something – has been difficult for me. I can’t change them, but I need to change my level of disappointment with them.

And now, here we are with a little more than eighty days left in 2017. Whether I get done all I set out to do or not, this was a productive and life-changing year for me. I don’t know what next year will bring; heck, who knows about what the next hour will bring?

All in all, I maintain that no matter what, changes will always be afoot.

©Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.

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Noir, or The Case of the Books

It’s been awhile since I wrote any type of book review or author discussion here.  As you know, lately I’ve been focusing on amusing posts and photography that reflect my daily life. Reading is part of my daily life, and my negligence on writing about the best-of-the-best books that make my reading list is, well, not giving you the full aspect of my daily life and what I call A Year of Change.

I discovered a (new to me) author, Bobby Underwood, who writes some of the best noir-type books that I’ve come across in years. If you think of authors James Ellroy, James M. Cain, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler, films such as The Glass Key, I Wake Up Screaming, and Call Northside 777, and actors and actresses such as Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Richard Widmark, Lana Turner, Lizbeth Scott, and Humphrey Bogart, you will see that Bobby Underwood’s books and characters follow the similar path of the cynical hard-boiled and rather damaged characters that when combined, help define the excellence of this genre.

So far, I’ve read four of Bobby Underwood’s books: Where Flamingos Fly, Beautiful Detour, Glass Alibi, and Slow Hot Wind.  Each captured my attention and kept it, each filled with action and well-developed characters. His writing style is so right-on the mark that the reader could presume they were written in the 1940s or 1950s.  In fact, these are more recently-written works, and it takes uncommon talent to capture the feel and language of this genus.

Each of these books are just the right length to read in an evening or two, or if you’re like me, you can read one during your long lunch break. What I especially like is that there is no vulgarity (those pesky four-letter words I deplore are thankfully absent), and any sexually-charged scenes are written so well using metaphors and entendre, that it adds to the sophistication of the stories.  The books’ titles are right on the mark, cleverly created.  And the book covers!  They are eye-catching.

Bobby Underwood is a prolific writer, and his books are readily available through Amazon.  I recommend you pick up one or two or all of his books.

You can read my reviews on my Goodreads site; more will be added as I finish his books on my “To Read List”:
Review of Beautiful Detour
Review of Slow Hot Wind and Glass Alibi
Review of Where Flamingos Fly

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.


Reading Marathon

“Susan! How’s that self-imposed reading marathon going for ya?”

Glad you asked.

I set a goal to read fifty-two books this year. So far, I’ve completed sixteen.

My 2017 reading endeavor started off with a quick reading of K. Collins’ “Declutter Your Home Effectively . . .” I didn’t learn anything new, really, so this was just a refresher and a boost to begin this Year of Change for me.  Less is more, keep your stuff in order.  OK.  Got it.

One of the strangest books I read was Jean Webster’s “Daddy Long Legs.” Young orphan college girl blossoms into a woman, while her much older benefactor provides for her and never really answers her letters to him. She addresses many letters to him as “Daddy-Long-Legs” or “Daddy.” Then they fall in love and marry. The storyline was psychologically strange to me. I never liked the 1955 Fred Astaire-Leslie Caron movie, either. However, the 1919 Mary Pickford-Mahlon Hamilton silent version was a lot more palatable (you can find it for free on the Internet).

“The Beautiful and Damned” by F. Scott Fitzgerald reminded me that broken people exist, and have since the beginning of time, and not much changes but names and dates. “Only Yesterday” and “Since Yesterday” by Frederick Lewis Allen – books I last read in high school – helped to flesh out that era between the two world wars.

My favorite book so far this month is “Anthem” by Ayn Rand. It’s one of the best Dystopian books I’ve come across. Her writing style drew me in, and I couldn’t put it down ‘til the last page. It’s a little like “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and some scenes remind me of “Logan’s Run.” Since “Anthem” is a novella, you can read it in an evening.

There are other books I read, from sociology (“The Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist” by Annie Heloise Abel) to a children’s book (“Are You My Mother?” by P. D. Eastman). One fiction-romance book turned me off – vulgarities, I don’t need – so I never really finished it, and I deleted it from my Kindle. For me, vulgarities take away from a story and it’s not a part of my real world life, either.

What’s up for February?

Some writing, and definitely more reading. So far I’ve put “Old Creole Days” by George W. Cable and “Every Soul Hath Its Song” by Fanny Hurst on my list. Cable is a new author to me; Hurst grabbed my attention years ago with “Imitation of Life.”

To see what I’m up to, stop by my Goodreads page by clicking HERE.

See you here with some of my life’s updates (not all about reading!) and my musings in the days to come.

©Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.


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