wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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How Do You Choose a Book?

For those of you who follow my other blog which is mainly for readers and writers, this post is a duplicate of the one I am posting on annelisplace.com today. If you are interested in posts about writing, reading, and copy-editing, you might like to click to follow annelisplace.com.

I don’t post there as frequently as I do on wordsfromanneli, but you might find some of the posts on annelisplace interesting, so please follow if you like to read or write.

Here is today’s post with some ideas about choosing a book to read.

 

In a bookstore, I hate to admit it but I judge a book by its cover. But let me qualify that. I only let that be my first criterion. Still, for writers out there, hoping to sell a book, that first impulse of the reader to pick up a book with an intriguing cover can add a lot to your sales, so make sure you get a great cover for your book.

Next, I like to read the flap on the jacket, or the back cover if it’s a paperback. I want to be drawn into the subject of the book and have a taste of the dilemma the characters find themselves in without having the ending spoiled for me. Just a teaser is all I want.

Then, if I think this subject might be something for me, I will read the opening sentence, and maybe as much as the first page or two. That will tell me most of what I need to know.

If I’m browsing for an e-book and I’m on a site like Amazon or Smashwords, I will click on the book cover where it says “Look Inside.”

This is where I make my decision.

Does the opening sentence hook me right away? Is it relevant to the plot of the story? Beware of the amateur opening sentences that begin the scene with:

  • the alarm clock going off
  • someone waking from a dream
  • someone driving by in a vehicle and describing the scenery
  • the narrator talking about the weather and telling you “It was a dark and stormy night.”

How does the author handle dialogue? Are there too many fancy, distracting words that  replace “said” and “asked”? If I see words like “inquired,” “responded,” “explained,” “answered,” “replied,” “questioned,” and “announced,” I will reluctantly leave that book for someone else to suffer through.  Even if the author uses the standard “said” and “asked” to move the story along more efficiently, if these words are followed by adverbs, I am also turned off. Once in a while, it is acceptable, but not as a general rule. It becomes tiresome to read:

  • “How did that happen?” she asked angrily.
  • “I have no idea,” he said, innocently.

The only thing that could make it worse is to have a gerund added into the mix:

  • “How did that happen?” she asked angrily, bunching up her fists on her hips.
  • “I have no idea,” he said, innocently, rolling his eyes.

These are clues you will find easily in the first few pages of a book. If you notice these examples of poor writing, you can still flip a few pages and check to see if the pattern continues. If it does, you will probably be glad if you give that book a pass and look for something else to read.

There are many other clues you might look for to see if you might like a book, but in this post I have tried to mention a few of the main ones that I look for.

How do you decide on your next book to read?  Do you have some ideas you’d like to share? Please let us know in the comment section.

 


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Heat, Rain, and Rainbows

After weeks of hot, dry weather, the cooler days of autumn are so welcome. The grass that was yellow and breaking off if anyone walked on it, is breathing a huge sigh of relief. With each little rainfall, it has greened up slightly. Now, it is getting a really good soaking as the skies opened up and torrents of water dumped out.


And of course, I ran for the shovel  when this rainbow appeared. I’m still looking for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Sunny days are wonderful,

Warmth upon our skin,

All the flowers colourful,

Happy I have been.

 

But the sun shone every day,

Scorching every leaf,

Who would think we’d ever say,

Soon we’ll need relief.

 

People smiling through their sweat,

Lied and said, “How nice,”

Still they hoped that rain we’d get,

Even hail or ice.

 

Yet the sun just shone and shone,

As we watched the sky,

Secret rituals going on,

Rain dance on the sly.

 

Finally our wish came true,

Heavens opened wide,

Soaking people through and through,

As they ran to hide.

 

Rainbow glows in every shade,

Colours shining bold,

Hurry! Go and get that spade,

Dig that pot of gold.

.


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Fall Crocuses

These crocuses don’t bloom until the autumn. In spring, they only have big green leaves which then turn yellow and wilt away. But in the autumn when everything else is dying and other blooms are finished, the flowers of this type of crocus pop up and bloom all alone without their leaves.

The Crocus family is having a meeting. They’ve seen Anneli coming along with her camera.

*****

“It’s picture time. Stand up straight, everyone!” says Ardyth. She’s the tallest crocus, the third one from the right. She likes to think she’s the boss.

They all stand up straight, noses in the air.

All except one. There’s ALWAYS one!

 

“Look at me, guys!” Mitch yells from his place on the ground. “I’m a python. I can swallow an animal whole. No teeth needed, no siree. I just open my big jaws and … GULP! Down the hatch! … Impressive, eh?”

 

If you could look into their faces, you would see the other six crocuses rolling their eyes. A breeze comes along to help them move as  they all shake their heads slowly.

So much for the family photo.

Ardyth sighs. “Oh, that Mitch and his snake fantasies.”

The row of well-behaved crocuses stretch their noses higher into the air.

“We’re being good, Ardyth,” they whisper eagerly. “But remember last year, when Gerald teetered back and forth until he finally leaned over backwards so far that he fell over and yelled, ‘Look at me! I’m a FALL crocus!'”

 


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The Last Goodies

As the season officially changes on Sept. 22, at about 12:21 p.m. Pacific time, we say goodbye to the heat and drought of the summer from hell, and welcome the wind and rain of the shorter autumn days.

My garden was a disaster this year with a long cold spring that didn’t encourage seeds to germinate, and a dry, way-too-hot summer that threatened to toast any plants that dared to pop up. Watering barely kept things alive and below a half-inch barrier on the surface, the ground was often powder dry.

The fruit trees had a poor crop this year but a few plums (not as many as in other years) and a few (VERY few) apples managed to grow. My favourite apple tree, the Wilmuta (a cross between Jonagold and Gravenstein) wasn’t exactly loaded either but the few apples it did have were very nice. You can see the Wilmutas below.

The last of the plums. They’re so sweet and tasty, but there were not enough of them.

The walnuts look like they’re drying right on the tree instead of falling off still in their green husks. They don’t look that great this year, but I discovered today that Lincoln has found the backyard walnut tree too (after cleaning off the two hazelnut trees in the front yard).

I don’t think Lincoln will starve this year, as the nuts did all right by squirrel standards.

Digging holes to hide the nuts,

This is what I do,

Later they will fill my guts,

Very tasty too.

 

Working hard this time of year,

Just as I’ve been taught,

Later I can give a cheer,

For the food I’ve got.

 

Days are shorter, now it’s fall,

Must pick up the pace,

Hiding nuts, I have them all,

See my smiling face.

 

Come the winter, nights are chilled,

Cozy I will be,

Lying back with stomach filled,

Happiness for me.

 


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Moving Day

Usually we think of moving day as a marathon of packing up boxes and then calling muscular friends or a moving company to throw all the furniture and other belongings into a truck to take it all to the new house. But what if you found a real bargain of a “fixer-upper” and you had a small piece of land to put it on, but that place was farther up the coast from where you lived? Or maybe you wanted to turn the “fixer-upper” into a house to rent out.

These houses appear for sale now and then, parked on wooden blocks to hold up the house on each corner, on a loading area near our town. The houses are sold and then brought in by tug and barge to be taken away to another location, often another coastal area.

A truck with a long low platform drives under the raised up house which is then lowered onto the lowbed and driven onto a barge to be towed by the tug to its new location. The low bed is unhooked from the tractor and can be reconnected to another one for unloading at the destination. I can barely make out the wheels of the trailer under the house at the front of the barge.

This (above) was the scene looking out from my house one day, but I found an article in the Times-Colonist that showed pictures of other houses being moved by this method. The houses are not necessarily  all “fixer-uppers.” The circumstances could be quite different.

 

So if you like your house, but it’s not in the right location, you can now move the house instead of your belongings.  Or you can find a  house and have it moved up the coast to your property. For that matter, if you’re stranded on a desert island, you can just use your smart phone and order  a house to be brought in.

And maybe, if you have Amazon Prime you might save yourself the shipping charges. Ya think?


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Pigs, Music, Books

We know that pigs are smart.

I read somewhere that pigs like music, especially Mozart’s compositions. While this piece is not by Mozart, it is a German song often sung by community choirs, so maybe that inspired the pig to learn to play it. It is called “Komm, Trost der Welt” (Come, Comfort of the World), and refers to the night and how it brings consolation, respite, and relief to many  who work hard all day long and have a lot of cares.

You can see that I used the music sheet that the pig is playing from as part of the cover of my novel “Julia’s Violinist.”

The pig is not a character in my book, but once he learns to play the song, I’ll teach him to read so he can enjoy “Julia’s Violinist.”

You can buy this novel for less than the price of a hamburger at amazon if you have Kindle, or at smashwords.com if you have any other kind of e-reader.  Just click on the image of the book on the sidebar of this blog.

 

 


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First Dampish Days

A dampish day, but that’s okay,

The sky is overcast,

The garden’s wet, so I’m all set,

The watering chore is past.

 

A squirrel hops, he looks, and stops,

He chatters to my face,

Then turns to run and have more fun,

At some much safer place.

 

I pick a pear and am aware

That rabbits like to chew,

If fruit should fall to ground at all,

It’s nibbled through and through.

 

The garden thrives and gives up chives

To make a lovely sauce,

But not the squash, it was a wash,

Complete and total loss.

I’m glad that kale does not get stale,

It’s growing, slow but strong,

This healthy plant in soup just can’t

Make anything go wrong.

 

A lonely rose, so bravely grows,

And blooms its last few days,

But come next year, you must not fear,

Again, it will amaze.


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All Masked Up

 

First it was the dog, growling and barking at me, and now it’s that woman waving her camera around like she’s a journalist and I’m the star of her freak show. I can see the headlines now: Masked Bandit Hides in Tree

Only one thing to do, and that’s go higher and stay put. The woman doesn’t look like she’s much of a climber – not at her age.

Emma, her dog, can jump a few feet, but of course, she can’t climb.

 

 

Well … let’s see … what’s the best way to get up here?

I’ll just have a stretch before I climb any higher. Get limbered up before I go up the limbs.

Ouch! I forgot about my owie. Think I scraped it the other night going up a tree in a hurry. Couldn’t really see where I was going and I gave myself a sore arm on one of those broken branches.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah, check out Mrs. Journalist. Yup, she’s still standing there pointing that black thing my way. Well, at least she can’t identify me with my mask on, so I can cause any kind of mischief I want. But I am complying with all the Covid rules – I have my mask on …  which is silly, because we’re outdoors in the fresh air.

When will she stop pointing that camera at me?

Sorry, but I’m a bit camera shy.

She’s a brazen one! Still there. Still pointing that gadget at me. Good thing I have a mask on for anonymity as well as for Covid. But still, still, still….

I’d better stay hidden behind the tree. I’ll just peek out now and then to see if she’s gone yet, and to make sure that dog isn’t around.

Reggie Raccoon felt quite brave around noon,

He just couldn’t wait until dark.

Running so hard across Anneli’s yard,

He leaped up the nearest tree’s bark.

 

Rushing he scrambled, his fate he had gambled,

He came close to losing his tail,

Emma, the jumper, leaped up to his bumper,

It’s lucky her snap was a fail.