Jack 

April 15, 1912 the Titanic British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early morning after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City.

Today is the 105th anniversary and I thought about that fatal voyage (& the Leonardo DiCaprio movie) as I was reading Francine Mathews’ book Jack 1939.  

I haven’t written a blackout poem in quite a while. This one was the first time I tried adding some graphics. 

Survivor

I’ve been wanting to write for quite a while, but hadn’t found the time or resources.  Tapping my fingers on my desk at work, & looking all around I wan’t going to let my 45 minute lunch to go to waste.  In that amount of time I could create a new blackout poem.  However, the only reading material I had in my desk to use was the Fleet Type Submarine Manual and the Torpedo Data Computer Manual which are not exactly choice verbiage for creating poetry.

Then I remembered I could access my Kindle Cloud reader on the computer.  Randomly, I chose from my fiction library the book Free Air by Sinclair Lewis and scrolled through with the mouse until I stopped on page 105 (because that is what time it was).  I read this book in the summer of 2015 so it wasn’t fresh in my memory.  I first skimmed the page, looking at it like a word search puzzle to see which words popped out.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a blackout poetry & usually I have to be in a particular mood when I make one.  This time, not so much of a mood came through, but more of a theme.  Nearly every day since the beginning of this year, my family has been watching past seasons of the reality TV show Survivor on DVD,  and have just completed Season 13.  Thus when I saw the name Jeff on the page of this book…. my mind immediately conjured up an image of host Jeff Probst. On the show, love or hate the castaway, it’s always an emotional episode when they have the “Loved Ones Visit.” The castaways are always surprised to see loved ones & then compete to spend time with them.  That’s what I thought of when making this…especially those who lose the challenge.

Because it was an e-book page it’s a lot wider than a photocopy of a regular book so you’ll have to click on the picture to read it full size.  In the event it doesn’t load because of the size, I typed it out below the picture.

Survivor

Shacks and tents
She ambled to the shore, feeling feeble
Three days ago she was muttering
Jeff…. homesick
Crouched on the shore, forlorn figure
Reflection of sunset
A roar, a rush
A trim figure darting-
Home
People she loved
He had shouted only, “I Miss” before she had rushed to him
Into the comfort of his arms and kissed him
Ridiculously wonderful to see you !
Must trot
See you very soon
Regret
Alone with Jeff in his cap, and his keen smile

Free Air- Sinclair Lewis

Free Air- Sinclair Lewis, Page 105 (electronic)

 

 

Keepsake Crimes

Keepsake Crimes by Laura Childs

I heard about this book on Facebook from a group made for people who want to buy and sell scrapbooking and rubber stamp supplies.  One lady happened to be selling her collection of Scrapbook Mystery books by this author.

I didn’t purchase them but went to library to check out #1 in the series.  

It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting and the book would only rate 2 stars from me.  I don’t read a lot of mystery books, but I at least expected that I might be able to gather some clues from the text that might help me figure out who done it.  This book did not do that.  Toward the end the murderer was revealed and the book wrapped up quickly like a TV show that had run short on time. 

In the book, the main character is named Carmela and she owns a scrapbook store in New Orleans near the hot Mardi Gras happenings. Carmela has regular customers coming in to her shop for classes and tips on scrap booking.  That’s where the craft theme part of the book comes in.  She has an eccentric neighbor who owns a Gothic style/voodoo shop near by.  

Carmela is recently estranged from her wealthy husband, Shamus, who has run off to try and find himself away from the world of banking and the grip of his family.  He is the one who is the murder suspect.  An acquaintance of his had died suddenly on a Mardi Gas parade float that he was riding on.  The last person he was seen arguing with was Shamus.  Since he has run off, every one approaches Carmela for answers so she begins some of her own investigating wile being watched by others herself.

The author goes into detail about Mardi Gras and New Orleans, the French Quarter area and the bayou.  In my opinion it seemed all a little flat.  I’m not really interested in that.  I would have been more engaged if she described a new place, not an existing setting.  One thing I learned in my college creative writing class was that simply by giving characters interesting and off-the-wall names does not make them interesting.  In fact it’s sometimes a put off.  I may be wrong because I have never been to New Orleans, but I don’t think that everyone there has that many unique names.  

Despite this review full of complaints, I would most likely give book #2 a try in the future.   Perhaps the author was just getting into the genre and the next installment might be better.  I read the synopsis and it looks like it contains the same characters in the same setting so at least I’ll know in advance what to expect there.  

 

The Remarkable Millard Fillmore: The Unbelievable Life of a Forgotten President

Maggie Turner's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

The Remarkable Millard Fillmore: The Unbelievable Life of a Forgotten President (Kindle Edition)

by George Pendle

My rating 1 of 5 stars

I admit that when I purchased this book, I may not have read all the reviews. Millard Fillmore sitting on top of a unicorn made me suspicious, but not enough to push me away. I thought of it as an attention grabber to get more readers interested.

Leave it to a British author to try and write about American History and this is what you get !

In the first few pages Pendle seems to say some wonderful things about Fillmore and I felt that someone else finally felt the way that I do about the 13th President. It wasn’t until later, I realized he was mocking Fillmore and me for that matter. I had a hard time picturing Fillmore’s great great grandfather being a swashbuckling pirate, nor his grandfather being of the kind to sit in the forest and eat linens. I even read past the part where Fillmore’s journals were found in a village in Northern Uganda where they worshiped them as sacred objects. It was once I got to the chapter that began with Millard’s life and the author said that the family couldn’t afford to give him a middle name, I put the book down and began to wonder if I had been taken in. Believe me, I have my receipt and I want my money back!!

I realize now the book is a joke, and I’m past feeling humiliated by it. I find some creativity in Pendle’s writing and for that only credit is due. I can’t beg Half Priced Books to buy it from me for a penny because I had downloaded the Kindle version so instead of deleting it (the e-version of book burning) I’ll keep it around for those nights when I have insomnia.

I try to be a reasonable Millard Fillmore fan. I’m sure the man himself would be able to take this book with a grain of salt and laugh it off. I understand he doesn’t rank high on the list of great presidents, but if you read biographies by Robert Scarry or W.L. Barre (published in 1856 when first-hand information was still available) you would see Fillmore in a different light. Millard Fillmore was chosen as Vice President even though he didn’t want the job. He was a dedicated civil servant and realized that if the people wanted him, believed in him, and chose him as vice-president then he was willing to step up and do the job for the people. That type of giving of one’s life, unselfishly to the public has been lost to labor’s history, as is Fillmore’s true reputation.

View all my reviews      Maggie Turner's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

The Callender Papers

The Callender PapersThe Callender Papers by Cynthia Voigt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this book while browsing with my mom in the young adult section of the public library. The description caught my eye because the story was about a young girl who was charged with going though and organizing personal papers. I thought what a great author to write about record retention and the screening of archival papers !

Without revealing too much of the story which lead to my conclusions, I will say that being an older reader, I suspected the direction in which the plot was heading by the middle of the book. However, that didn’t spoil the ending because it wasn’t exactly as I had surmised. Having said that, I would still choose to read this book again and again. My enjoyment of this book has also peaked my interest into what Cynthia Voigt’s other novels have to offer.

View all my reviews
Maggie Turner's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)