How Not To Die Alone by Richard Roper

Title: How Not to Die Alone, Author: Richard Roper How Not To Die Alone. Finished 3-22-10, 3.5/5 stars, fiction, pub. 2019

Unabridged audio, 7 CDs

Andrew’s day-to-day is a little grim, searching for next of kin for those who die alone. Thankfully, he has a loving family waiting for him when he gets home, to help wash the day’s cares away. At least, that’s what his coworkers believe.

Andrew didn’t mean for the misunderstanding to happen, yet he’s become trapped in his own white lie. The fantasy of his wife and two kids has become a pleasant escape from his lonely one bedroom with only his Ella Fitzgerald records for company. But when new employee Peggy breezes into his life like a breath of fresh air, Andrew is shaken out of his routine. She doesn’t notice the wall he’s been safely hiding behind and their friendship promises to break it down.   from Goodreads

I loved the quirkiness of Andrew and this book as a whole.  His job was to go in to homes of people who died alone when the next of kin was not obvious.  He goes into their homes and through their personal things to find information about who to notify or barring that, money to pay for their burial.  I have no idea if the system in the US works the same way.  It was both morbid and fascinating.

Andrew is 42, never been married and lives in an apartment overrun by his model train set up (not too far off what I pictured for Gage’s future during his model trains years).  The only problem is that Andrew has been making up a family and home life for years.  His boss and co-workers think they know all about his family and look forward to meeting them at an upcoming work function.  Add to that mix Peggy, a new office mate who he has a bit of a crush on.

I did get frustrated with Andrew (how could you not?) and found the middle of the book a little too meandering, but the characters were fun and Andrew’s life from beginning to end was one worth rooting for.  I’m glad I listened to this one.

 

This Week -Yikes!

Fave Pic IMG_3778 Lots of fun family game time this week.  Our current favorite is Rail and Sails Great Lakes.

Highlights of the Week What a week, right?  Gage is finally healthy and now we have to stay home.  But, it nice to finally have my kid back to his happy self after  a month+ of sickness.  If we’re friends on Facebook you saw that my horrifying mistake when making dinner led us to discover that Gage may have outgrown his dairy allergy!  Yay!  And if we’re not friends, let’s connect.  This is technically Gage’s Spring Break  so the teachers can prepare lessons, but we got a packet of assignments last week so we started those.  Gage loves a schedule and worksheets, both of which have helped make this week better.  Jason had to go downtown for work one day but now he’s working from home indefinitely.

Finished Reading Title: Dear Edward (Barnes & Noble Book Club Edition), Author: Ann Napolitano (review) Title: Morning Meditations: Awaken Your Power to Change, Author: Norton Professional Books (review)

Currently Reading The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Wa…  Before I Go to Sleep

Currently Listening Title: How Not to Die Alone, Author: Richard Roper  I’m like 5 minutes from being done.

Puzzles Finished IMG_3791 When we had to rid our house of everything a year and a half ago I had a lot  of unopened puzzles, so I threw away all of the boxes and plastic, but put the pieces into ziploc bags.  Now we have lots of mystery puzzles.  It’s fun to try and figure out what we’re puzzling.  You can see how many more we have left.  Plenty for the quarantine!

Watching Rat Race poster.jpg Wonder Park theatrical poster.jpg  They made the kid happy.

We’re also caught up with Survivor.  As the weeks have been stressful, I’ve switched from the Hallmark channel to the Food Network for my comfort food.  It’s a bonus that Gage loves the shows too (not like the Hallmark channel, lol). He loves Restaurant Impossible with Robert Irvine.

Plans for the Weekend  More of the same.  Some families are choosing to not to have the kids visit grandparents at this time and I understand that.  I also understand the importance of the visits for the littles and olds.  Gage has had a few visits with my parents and he will have another this weekend.

Stay well, my friends.

I linked up in Sunday Salon at Readerbuzz.

Morning Meditations: Awaken Your Power to Change

Title: Morning Meditations: Awaken Your Power to Change, Author: Norton Professional Books  Morning Meditations.  Finished 3-19-20, self-help, 315 pages, pub. 2020

Do you ever wish you could take a moment from your busy day to reflect on life’s larger questions? Do you wonder how you could experience your relationships differently? Or how to prioritize your goals? It can be challenging to reflect on our own experiences, to lean on the wisdom of others, and to draw inspiration from the world around us. Now you can . . .. without a big commitment of time.

Morning Meditations is filled with more than 150 bite-sized entries about some of life’s most important questions about the nature of change, stress, mindfulness, gratitude, relationships, self-esteem, and health. Carefully curated from the writings of some of the world’s leading mental health practitioners, the passages offer insight and comfort, as well as prompts for further thought.    from Goodreads

Broken up in to several categories like change, mindfulness, and self-esteem this book is full of ideas to get you thinking.  The multiple categories were scattered (like two Stress entries in a row, a needed thing at this time, I think!) and the entries were short.  None were more than a page and a half and most were on one small page.

When I first started reading this I thought it would be perfect for people on the go who didn’t have a lot of time but still wanted to delve a little deeper into their behaviors or beliefs.  Now, it seems, most of the country has plenty of time, but I think it’s still beneficial to keep our minds focused on our goals and our relationships.

I’ll leave you with one entry so you can get an idea of what’s included.

IMG_3799

 

 

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Title: Dear Edward (Barnes & Noble Book Club Edition), Author: Ann Napolitano Dear Edward. Finished 3-16-20, 4.5/5 stars, fiction, 352 pages, pub. 2020

One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Among them is a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured vet returning from Afghanistan, a septuagenarian business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. And then, tragically, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor.

Edward’s story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place for himself in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a piece of him has been left in the sky, forever tied to the plane and all of his fellow passengers. But then he makes an unexpected discovery–one that will lead him to the answers of some of life’s most profound questions: When you’ve lost everything, how do find yourself? How do you discover your purpose? What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?   from Goodreads

The Adlers were moving from New York City to Los Angeles when the unthinkable happens and Eddie is left the lone survivor of the plane crash.  Taken in by his aunt and uncle the three try to find some normalcy.  Eddie becomes Edward and because of his miracle status is able to navigate his early teen years in his own way.  From the beginning he latches on to Shay, his next door neighbor, and she becomes his lifeline.

More than just a coming of age story for a boy who loses almost everything, it also tells the tales of the other passengers on the doomed plane.  The military man who is going home to the drugged out Wall Street guy making the moves on the flight attendant, the stories add to the heft of Edward’s new life.  Their lives become a part of his own.

The two points in time, current day and the hours in the air on the flight, alternate with suspense building for why the plane came down and what his miraculous survival means for Edward’s life.  In the end, Edward turns 18 and we find out what happened on the flight and I was left both sad and hopeful.  The dual story lines do seem like a downer, but Edward’s search for meaning and in the people who reach out to him after touched my heart.

 

 

This Week – Schools Out

Fave pic HPMS1076

Highlights of the Week – It’s over.

Currently Reading Title: Dear Edward (Barnes & Noble Book Club Edition), Author: Ann Napolitano The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Wa… Morning Meditations: Awaken Your Power …  This looks like a broken record.  Gage was home sick, I was sick.  Not much got done.

Currently Listening Title: How Not to Die Alone, Author: Richard Roper

Finished Watching Altered Carbon Season 2 on Netflix.  Not as good as the first season, but some good stuff in there.

Plans for the weekend Most everything is closed here.  Ohio has 5 confirmed cases of Coronavirus and they’re all here in our area so we are limiting ourselves to the house this weekend.  I’m working at the Ohio primary elections on Tuesday and I’m not thrilled about the exposure.

I’m hoping some of my positivity will come back next week.  Share some of your happiness with me.  What were your highlights of the week?

This Week – Where is Spring?

Fave Pic  IMG_3601 Enjoying the sunset on a healthy Sunday.

Highlight of the Week  Well, the book sale I went to last Sunday was great and I got a chance to meet and exchange notes with another Cuyahoga Library Friends President.  I was even able to invite her to a local meetup on Tuesday that she didn’t know about.  The rest of  the week has pretty much been one I’d like to move on from.  After 10 days on antibiotics Gage had one day of happiness before waking up with the flu on Wednesday.  He’s lost his voice and some of his coughing makes him throw up.  He was able to to nap for almost 3 hours yesterday.  I’m not sure he’s ever been this sick 😦  And Jason woke up sick on Friday.  Pray for their health and mine!

Books Read  We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices (review)

Currently Reading  Title: Dear Edward (Barnes & Noble Book Club Edition), Author: Ann Napolitano Before I Go to Sleep The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Wa… Morning Meditations: Awaken Your Power …

Currently Listening Title: How Not to Die Alone, Author: Richard Roper  So quirky!

Movies Watched Wakefield poster.jpg Now I need to get my hands on the the EL Doctorow short story it’s based on and the Nathaniel Hawthorne short story that started it all.  I’m curious to see the trajectory.

On the Small Screen  We’re halfway through season 2 of Netflix’s crazy cyberpunk series Altered Carbon.  I liked season 1 but it took me a little longer to get into this season.

The Water Dancer review

My 30 Day Challenge Update

Plans  for the Weekend  We’re having a kids book sale this morning at the library that I’m in charge of so that will take the me until mid afternoon when I will be back home trying to heal my kid and my husband.  I feel like this healing business has been on my weekend agenda for awhile.

What’s going on in your neck of the woods?

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices edited by Wade Hudson & Cheryl Willis Hudson

Title: We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, Author: Wade Hudson We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices.  Finished 3-5-20, children’s non-fiction, 4.5/5 stars, 96 pages, pub. 2018

Fifty of the foremost diverse children’s authors and illustrators–including Jason Reynolds, Jacqueline Woodson, and Kwame Alexander–share answers to the question, “In this divisive world, what shall we tell our children?” in this beautiful, full-color keepsake collection, published in partnership with Just Us Books.

What do we tell our children when the world seems bleak, and prejudice and racism run rampant? With 96 lavishly designed pages of original art and prose, fifty diverse creators lend voice to young activists.

Featuring poems, letters, personal essays, art, and other works from such industry leaders as Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming), Jason Reynolds (All American Boys), Kwame Alexander (The Crossover), Andrea Pippins (I Love My Hair), Sharon Draper (Out of My Mind), Rita Williams-Garcia (One Crazy Summer), Ellen Oh (cofounder of We Need Diverse Books), and artists Ekua Holmes, Rafael Lopez, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, and more, this anthology empowers the nation’s youth to listen, learn, and build a better tomorrow.      from Goodreads

So much love in and for this kid’s book!  First, it’s just gorgeous.  The cover is great and each 1-3 page entry is illustrated by a different talented illustrator.  Just flipping through the book, before even reading a word, you will be drawn in.

This treasury was started after the 2016 election and the editors saw how distraught their grand-niece and other kids were.  How they felt all of the hate spewing down on the marginalized and they were scared, confused, and worried.  This is a book to comfort, inspire, and motivate.

The stories and poems included this this collection are a joy to read.  There are personal stories, advice, and poems.  I have a list of favorites and I’ll share a few.  I’m so glad that this was on our library’s recommended list for winter.  Be sure to check it out.  It’s so beautiful you might even want a copy to keep not only for the kids in your life, but for you!

 

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Title: The Water Dancer (Oprah's Book Club), Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates The Water Dancer. Finished 2-27-20, fiction, 3.5/5 stars, 403 pages, pub. 2019

Unabridged audio

Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her—but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.

So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the deep South to dangerously utopic movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram’s resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures.     from Goodreads

Hiram was born into slavery.  He was known for his remarkable memory and that plus the fact that his master was also his father moved him from the fields to the big house and eventual right hand man to his half brother.  After an accident when a special gift saves Hiram’s life his journey with the Underground begins.

There are many things I liked about this slave narrative, but I’m in the minority of readers who was underwhelmed.  I thought his time with the Underground was fascinating as there were so many people at cross purposes that it showed some of the dysfunction.  I liked his journey from South to North to home again, the full circle of the story.  The slave families being split apart as plantations lost their luster was heartbreaking.  But, for some reason, Hiram’s special gift didn’t gel with the rest of the story for me.

I missed book club last month so I may have been swayed by the people who loved it, but since I wasn’t  I’ll just have to chalk it up to not quite living up to the hype for me.

 

This Week – On the Mend

Fave Pic RCDK3612

Highlights of the Week Gage has finished 8 days of antibiotics for strep throat and a sinus infection.  I kept him home on Monday and on Friday he had a snow day so I got extra fun time with my kid this week and he was feeling better.  I also got a cut and color yesterday for the first time in about 9 months so that was good too.

Finished reading Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life: … (reviewThe Water Dancer

Currently Reading Before I Go to Sleep The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Wa… Morning Meditations: Awaken Your Power …

Currently Listening  How Not to Die Alone

Movies Watched To All the Boys - P.S. I Still Love You official release poster.jpg It wasn’t as good as the first one.

On the Small Screen Still watching Survivor and really liking this season so far.  We also started the second season of Altered Carbon on Netflix.

Puzzles Completed IMG_3587_Moment (2) A fun 500 piecer that Gage did most of.

Library Sale Finds IMG_3588_Moment (2)

5 Word Movie Reviews

My New 30 Day Challenge

Plans for the Weekend I’m going to a library sale that’s selling a bag full of books for $1!  How can I possibly resist?