Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson


I first became aware of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson back in the mid-1990s while I worked in the textbook department at a university bookstore when I was an undergraduate student. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson and also her book, Sexing The Cherry, were popular books assigned for English courses on campus. Although I didn't know what each book was about at the time, I found their titles interesting. I'd actually meant to read both Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and Sexing The Cherry back in the 1990s, but I had forgotten about both books after graduating from college.

Then I came across Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson as an ebook deal on Amazon. I decided why not read it now? I began reading this short novel (it's less than 200 pages in length.) without reading the book blurb as to what it was about. I wanted to keep the element of surprise regarding the plot/storyline.

Let's just say that Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit is not what I expected it to be!! This book is a coming of age book that falls into the LGBTQ+ spectrum. I've also read that Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit is semi-autobiographical as well, which makes for interesting reading. There are also strong religious themes/elements throughout the novel. Literary fiction plays heavily in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit as well. It should also be noted that Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson is the winner of the Whitbread Prize for best first fiction.

So, what did I think of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit? I definitely think it is uniquely written. The author has found a rich and nuanced way of communicating various topics in an untraditional way. I found this refreshing. I think the topics and themes explored were good. BUT overall, I didn't like this book very much. Parts of the book were really good and other parts were definitely a miss for me. I'm not sure I will go on to read anything else written by Jeanette Winterson in the future, since Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit wasn't appealing to me.

Below is the summary for Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit from Amazon's website:

When it first appeared, Jeanette Winterson’s extraordinary debut novel received unanimous international praise, including the prestigious Whitbread Prize for best first fiction. Winterson went on to fulfill that promise, producing some of the most dazzling fiction and nonfiction of the past decade, including her celebrated memoir Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?

Now required reading in contemporary literature, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a funny, poignant exploration of a young girl’s adolescence.

Jeanette is a bright and rebellious orphan who is adopted into an evangelical household in the dour, industrial North of England and finds herself embroidering grim religious mottoes and shaking her little tambourine for Jesus. But as this budding missionary comes of age, and comes to terms with her unorthodox sexuality, the peculiar balance of her God-fearing household dissolves. Jeanette’s insistence on listening to truths of her own heart and mind - and on reporting them with wit and passion - makes for an unforgettable chronicle of an eccentric, moving passage into adulthood.

I am giving Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, June 17, 2024

Hunted by Darcy Coates


I listened to the unabridged audio Hunted by Darcy Coates and narrated by Angela Dawe. Listening time for Hunted by Darcy Coates is 10 hours, 29 minutes.

Darcy Coates is a new to me author this year. Hunted is the third Darcy Coates novel I've listened to this year and it is the best novel of the three novels by far.

Hunted is part thriller/suspense and part horror. I liked the storyline and the twists and turns in the novel itself... Unfortunately, towards the end of the novel, I did figure out who the perpetrator is. Although I enjoyed the storyline and plot twists, the characters for me are the issue in Hunted as well as with the other novels written by Darcy Coates I've read. It's not that they're bad characters, I just think most of the characters could have more dimension to them. I've noticed that the male characters created by the author aren't that exciting overall in particular... The characters need some sort of extra punch to them to make them more interesting and engaging.

Below is the publisher's plot summary for Hunted by Darcy Coates from Chirp's website:

Her disappearance wasn’t an accident. Her rescue will be a mistake.

22-year-old Eileen goes missing while hiking in the remote Ashlough Forest. Five days later, her camera is discovered washed downriver, containing bizarre photos taken after her disappearance.

Chris wants to believe Eileen is still alive. When the police search is abandoned, he and four of his friends create their own search party to scour the mountain range. As they stray further into the dark forest and the unsettling discoveries mount, they begin to believe they’re not alone in the trees… and that Eileen’s disappearance wasn’t an accident.

By that point, it’s too late to escape.

I am giving Hunted by Darcy Coates a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Ursula K. Le Guin’s Portland, Oregon Home Will Become a Writers Residency

I recently read an article posted on AP NEWS'S website titled,
Ursula K. Le Guin’s home will become a writers residency by Hillel Italie. In the article, I learned the following information:
Downes-Le Guin, who also serves as his mother’s literary executor, now hopes to give contemporary authors access to her old writing space. Literary Arts, a community nonprofit based in Portland, Oregon, announced Monday that Le Guin’s family had donated their three-story house for what will become the Ursula K. Le Guin Writers Residency.

No date has been set for when the residency will begin. Literary Arts has launched a fundraising campaign for maintaining the house and for operating an office in town.

I love this idea of using Ms. Le Guin's former residence in Portland, Oregon as the Ursula K. Le Guin Writers Residency! Hopefully, the residency program will start soon.

Click on the top link to read the entire article in full.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Mayflower Lives by Martyn Whittock


I listened to the unabridged audio version of Mayflower Lives by Martyn Whittock and narrated by James Cameron Stewart.

Listening time for Mayflower Lives by Martyn Whittock is 11 hours, 59 minutes.

If you are at all interested in early American history, especially the lives of the Mayflower Pilgrims, then this is the book for you! Mayflower Lives by Martyn Whittock is packed to the gills with a plethora of information and is very well organized and written. 

Although, Mayflower Lives is packed with an abundance of pertinent information, I found myself (at times) tuning out while listening to this audiobook. I didn't care for the narrator for Mayflower Lives, which most likely is the reason why I tuned out occasionally. So, I'd recommend reading a physical copy of this book instead,

Below is the publisher's summary for Mayflower Lives by Martyn Whittock found on Chirp's website:
Leading into the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower, Martyn Whittock examines the lives of the “saints” (members of the Separatist puritan congregations) and “strangers” (economic migrants) on the original ship. Collectively, these people would become known to history as “the Pilgrims.” The story of the Pilgrims has taken on a life of its own as one of our founding national myths-their escape from religious persecution, the dangerous transatlantic journey, that brutal first winter. Throughout the narrative, we meet characters already familiar to us through Thanksgiving folklore-Captain Jones, Myles Standish, and Tisquantum (Squanto)-as well as new ones. There is Mary Chilton, the first woman to set foot on shore, and asylum seeker William Bradford. We meet fur trapper John Howland and little Mary More, who was brought as an indentured servant. Then there is Stephen Hopkins, who had already survived one shipwreck and was the only Mayflower passenger with any prior American experience. Decidedly un-puritanical, he kept a tavern and was frequently chastised for allowing drinking on Sundays. Epic and intimate, Mayflower Lives is a rich and rewarding book that promises to enthrall anyone with an interest in early American history.
I am giving Mayflower Lives by Martyn Whittock a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, June 13, 2024

A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson


I listened to the unabridged audio version of A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson and narrated by Scott Brick

Listening time for A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson is 6 hours, 44 minutes.

A Stir of Echoes is the 3rd book I've read written by Richard Matheson. I can officially say I am now a HUGE fan of Matheson's writing and look forward to reading more of his books in the future. A Stir of Echoes is very well narrated by Scott Brick.

What did I love about A Stir of Echoes? Just about everything! There were only a couple of minor issues, which didn't deter from my overall rating. 

Richard Matheson is a masterful writer. He really knows how to pace his novels and build intrigue and suspense. With each passing chapter, I found myself wanting to keep listening to see what transpire with the characters, the plot, and storyline. 

A Stir of Echoes was published in 1958 and is set in the 1950s in Hawthorne, California. The main characters are Tom and Ann Wallace. They are a young couple with a young son and Ann is pregnant with their second child. 

At the start of A Stir of Echoes, Ann's brother, Philip, is visiting Tom and Ann. Tom, Ann, and Philip go to a neighbor's dinner party early on in the novel. After dinner, Philip hypnotizes Tom as a party trick as a way to entertain the dinner guests. 

After everyone goes home for the night, Tom begins to experiences strange things throughout the rest of the novel... Like reoccurring ghost sightings of the same woman in their home, premonitions, nightmares, the ability to sense what other people are thinking and feeling, automatic writing, and so on.

Initially, both Tom and Ann don't understand what's going on with Tom since the hypnosis session. Ann is concerned and scared that Tom's losing his mind, which causes stress and tension in their marriage. 

As Tom and Ann both try and figure out what's going on with Tom and why he's experiencing what he is, there's also the mystery of the ghostly apparition that keeps reaching out to Tom and who she is. Come to find, the ghost is a woman who was murdered in the very home in which they live. Tom and Ann eventually figure out who the murdered woman was and who murdered her.

There's so much more to A Stir of Echoes. I simply gave broad brushstrokes to the storyline to prevent giving away too much of the plot twists and finer details for those that may want to read this novel for themselves.

Below is the plot summary for A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson discovered on Amazon's website:

This eerie ghost story, from Richard Matheson, the award-winning author of Hell House and I Am Legend, inspired the acclaimed 1999 film starring Kevin Bacon.

Tom Wallace lived an ordinary life, until a chance event awakened psychic abilities he never knew he possessed. Now he's hearing the private thoughts of the people around him-and learning shocking secrets he never wanted to know. But as Tom's existence becomes a waking nightmare, even greater jolts are in store as he becomes the unwilling recipient of a compelling message from beyond the grave!

I am giving A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Silent Book Clubs Are Still Going Strong!


Roughly 6 years ago, I'd made a post here on my blog about the silent book club phenomena I'd just learned about online at the time. 

I'd largely forgotten about silent book clubs. I'd thought (perhaps) they'd fallen by the wayside due to the pandemic as I hadn't heard much news about them in recent years.

Then in the past week, I saw that Good Morning America created the above short segment about silent book clubs. Silent book clubs seem to be going strong! 

Have you attended a silent book club event? I haven't attended one yet. The silent book clubs featured in the above video sound amazing!

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Happy Audiobook Appreciation Month!!!


I am a HUGE audiobook fan! In fact, last year, the majority of the books I listened to rather than read. I definitely promote and appreciate audiobooks.