TOM HANKS, an author?

The answer is most decidedly YES! Because it was in large print, and because it peaked my curiosity as to how good (or bad) he was at writing, I checked out Tom Hank’s (Yes, that Tom Hanks) 2017 collection of short stories, Uncommon Type: Some Stories.  I didn’t intend to read all the stories, but I was captivated, both by his “gimmick” of having a typewriter show up somewhere in each story, and as I read on, by his fine writing style. There was everything from Time Travel to farewell editorials from newspapermen. Something to please everyone.  That was the amazing part of these stories: the versatility. Tom Hanks must have had fun helping put this book format together, and the stories themselves, every single one of them, were intriguing and “good reading.”

Some were long, some short. Some were humorous, others pensive and deep. All were clever, sometimes of O.Henry quality. I couldn’t pick a favorite if I were forced to. I liked them all. I knew Tom Hanks was a fine actor, and thus, it followed that he was a creative man, but this writing proves just how creative he is. One critic on the cover describes him as a “new voice in contemporary fiction.” I would have to agree, IF he has more than this collection of stories “in him.” I would love to see him attempt a novel or a play, or a memoir–then I would label him a contemporary voice in good fiction.  Hanks certainly is a master of the short story.

How Not To Take A Compliment.

Some Words That Say What I Think

I am not very good at accepting compliments.

My brain doesn’t know how to process them which is silly because receiving a compliment should be a relatively simple process:

1. Receive compliment.
2. Thank person who gave you the compliment.
3. Enjoy boost in self-esteem produced by compliment.

However, I tend to be quite self-critical and therefore I sometimes struggle to align compliments with my vision of myself.

As a result, whenever I receive a compliment, I tend to freak out and do everything in my power to deflect it.

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I am trying to get better at handling compliments by reframing how I perceive them.

After all, a compliment is basically a verbal gift.

If someone bought you a physical gift, refusing to accept it and saying ‘no this is not right for me TAKE IT BACK’ would be incredibly rude.

Therefore, even if you don’t 100% agree with a…

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Sunday (Evening) Post

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Instead of going through what I’ve finished, what I’m continuing to read, and what I’ve begun, I want to give a summary of the January challenge I gave myself– to read six books before February first in an attempt to get a few books off my TBR list/shelf.

Here are the six books that led to a successful meeting of the challenge:

  1. The Whole Cat and Caboodle, a cozy mystery by Sofie Ryan that was due back at the local library. It is the first in Ryan’s “Second Chance” series featuring Sarah Grayson, who owns a second-hand shop (Named Second Chance) in a small town.  I chose the book because of the cat on the cover. (Of course there is a cat, this is a cozy mystery!) Sarah hangs out with her grandmother’s friends (Think The Golden Girls…) and one is found with her current beaux (of dubious reputation), his…

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RUNNING OUT OF SPACE, First book in “SUNBLINDED series”:A Review

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This 2017 sci fi publication by author and popular blogger, S.J. Higbee (“Brainfluff”) begins on board the starship “Hawking”. No braver more enterprising protagonist exists than Elizabeth (aka Lizzy), whose domineering father known as “The Cap,” rules with an iron fist–both his ship of command and his daughter’s life.

On a forbidden foray into the strange underworld which opens the novel, Lizzy encounters Wynn (aka “Blondie” to the sneering gang members who pursue Lizzy and her friends).  This blonde-haired, blue-eyed heartthrob is more than “just a pretty face.” He is a worthy, intelligent “opponent” to Lizzy’s dismissive first impression, only to have Wynn save her, then have to turn around and save Wynn in the fight that ensues. The young people end up recuperating  on the neighboring starship, “Star,” where its leader, General Norman takes an unusual, unwelcome interest in Lizzy herself, and who also seems to have a strong…

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Neil Gaiman’s THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS: A Review

Gaiman, a British citizen living in the US is perhaps best known for his graphic novel, The Sandman, or his huge fantasy novel, Everywheres. Both are captivating reads.  In his introduction to “Cheap Seats,” he says this is not a collected works of his non-fiction, but that is precisely what it is. College commencement speeches, acceptance speeches for rewards, musings and thoughts presented to different academies join book reviews and introductions and other written pieces by the versatile Gaiman.  I began with something I knew, the “Make Art” address to the University of Arts in Philadelphia, which went viral in 2012. It was as stirring as I remembered it when I showed it to my university students that year.

He points out that just as like doctors are approached with, “I have a pain on the left side of my right hip…” and teachers are approached with, “My child has been diagnosed with dyslexia, what should I be doing at home?” authors are constantly presented with, “Where do you get your ideas?”  Sarcastic at first, Gaiman attempts to give an honest answer which is the following:

“I make them up.

Out of my head.”

The title essay comes from his experience of being invited to the Oscars and having to sit in the nosebleed section far away from the stage. He had been nominated for the animated film, Coraline, (He did not win, but how could he, competing against Up?) His accounting of that night makes good reading. His British sense of humor carries the day and keeps the reader turning pages, followed by pondering the depth of the point the author has just made. Gaiman has been called, “an inquisitive observer,” and this collection of 60 works of his non-fiction writings is worth the time for anyone who loves books, writers, and writing.

HILLBILLY ELEGY by J.D. Vance: A Review

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This 2016 memoir/sociological analysis of the “Hillbilly culture, mind and attitude” was selected by my Third Tuesday Book Club as its January selection.  I had read about this book before, but did not read it because it sounded “depressing.” Instead, I found a young man who OVERCAME every obstacle thrown his way.  If anything, Hillbilly Elegy is inspiring. I wish I had looked at the author’s picture inside the back cover first, for it caused me to gain respect that one so young could be so philosophical about how hard his life could have been (and the scars and holdovers from that life that still plague him) then give his story and his conclusions about what it means to have been “raised hillbilly,”in order to make Americans take a hard look at Hillbilly culture.

Raised in the “Rust Belt” of Middletown, Ohio, and shuttled back and forth between Middletown and…

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