Book Review

October Newsletter: Atonement book review

atonementAtonement by Ian McEwan
A book review by Richard McGee

I have been reading novels selected to Best Lists.

Atonement was listed as one of the best novels written in the 20th century and was nominated for several awards.

Atonement is the story of a thirteen-year-old girl, Briony, that is a witness to a crime and falsely accuses a young man, the boyfriend of her older sister. Her testimony leads to his conviction and incarceration and it alienates the sister from the family. As Briony grows into adulthood, she realizes the error of her testimony and the story evolves into her attempt to correct her wrong.

This is not a simple read. The author delves into extensive details of the life of Briony so that some scenes may remind you of the painstaking detail in Virginia Wolfe’s “Mrs. Dalloway”. I first read about a fourth of this book before setting it down for several months. When I picked it back up, I began again at the first and am glad I finished it.

The story began slowly but hooked me so that I could hardly lay it down to sleep at night. The big plot turns in the story pulled me toward the end. When I started this book, I wanted to watch the movie it inspired after I read it; but after reading the book, I no longer desire to see the movie. The author does such a great job of taking us into Briony’s thoughts, that I am certain a movie will disappoint in comparison. I recommend this book as an excellent read.

Book Review

October Newsletter: The Monkey’s Paw

The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs

Glenda Bonham

If you’re searching for a classic Halloween tale, The Monkey’s Paw won’t let you down. First published in 1902, the short story has been a horror/suspense standard over 100 years.

The story of the Monkey’s Paw has been adapted by the Simpsons, Are You Afraid of the Dark, the X-Files, Tales from the Crypt and more. Stephen King seems fond of the tale as the theme of Pet Semetary centers on the unintended consequences of bringing back the dead. Another King story, The Dead Zone, features a reference to the classic tale when protagonist John describes his psychic powers as being similar to the Monkey’s Paw.

The basic lesson learned in The Monkey’s Paw is “be careful what you wish for.” That to desire more than you have is one thing, but to cheat, to skip steps and cut corners to get there, will rarely if ever end well for you. It’s a warning to the reckless. It’s also one of the best short stories ever penned.
Happy Halloween!

This short story can be read online free of charge at:

monkey's paw

News from NaNoLand

October Newsletter News from NaNoLand

It’s that time of year again! People all over the world are beginning to plot, plan, and stock up on coffee! NaNoWriMo is approaching. If you don’t know, National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, challenges participants to write a 50,000 word draft of a novel in the 30 days of November. 2018 saw 295,396 participants world wide and an

additional 101,328 student writers joining in on the Young Writers Program. NaNoWriMo believes in the transformational power of creativity. They provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds-on and off the page. NaNoWriMo is also a non-profit. While it is free to participate they do ask for donations to keep the site up and running and more importantly they provide a K-12 curriculum and resources and tools for free to teachers, underfunded schools, homeschool families, and more. Last year they were able to provide 2,500 classrooms with kits.


The NaNoWriMo organization is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year. Here in our own community of Fort Stockton we have several participants, some of whom will be joining for their 10th year participating. In 2018 Fort Stockton participants wrote a total of 338,703 words. Several of those projects are in various stages of production from still being written and added to and edited with hopes to pursue publishing. Over the years this group has written over 3,016,000 words, some of which have gone on to be published!

If you have ever thought that someday you’d like to write a novel then join NaNoWriMo and take those first steps to make that dream happen today! During November we have several events throughout the month to keep you encouraged and provide support to help you accomplish that goal. Contact Sarah Shuttleworth at if you would like more information or check out

Saturday October 19th Plot In 2-3 pm @the Garage

Friday November 1st Kickoff party 5-6 pm @the Garage

November 6th Come Write In 5-6 pm @the Garage

November 13th Come Write In 5-6 pm @the Garage

November 20th Come Write In 5-6 pm @the Garage

November 26th Come Write In 5-6 pm @the Garage

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