Book Review

January 2020 Book Review – Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Glenda Bonham

This 2018 fiction by a first-time author, has out-sold new novels by John Grisham, Margaret Atwood and Stephen King combined. It has spent 28 weeks on the New York best-seller list.

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a

quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called “Marsh Girl”. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

Be aware the reviews on ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ have been mixed, for a 6 year-old child to survive in predator infested swamp is high fiction. Some reviews report it’s unbelievable to point of fantasy.

Recipe

January 2020 Writers and Readers Quick Snack – Peppermint Hot Chocolate

PEPPERMINT HOT CHOCOLATE SUBMITTED BY GLENDA BONHAM

1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup finely crushed candy canes- I used (40) peppermint starlight mints

Whisk together all the ingredients and transfer to an airtight container.

To prepare hot chocolate: Combine 1/4 cup of the hot chocolate mix and 1 cup of milk in a saucepan for each serving of hot chocolate. Whisk to combine. Warm over medium heat until steaming, stirring occasionally. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream or marshmallows, if desired. Enjoy!

non-fiction

January 2020 – First Snowfall

FIRST SNOWFALL BY GLENDA BONHAM

 

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It’s the hush I love so well. Snowfall mutes the everyday sounds by trapping the noise and gently ushering it to earth. Like a mother soothing a crying baby, snow swaddles sound and lulls it to rest.

Only with new snow can you hear the echoes of children’s laughter from afar, while the sounds of the city are muffled. A church bell’s ring comes drifting on crisp air and the wind itself is but a whisper.

Yet, in the tranquil peace you can watch yourself breathe by the frost you emit. Your nerve endings are wide awake due to freezing conditions. You can hear your heart beat, and your pulse thump. You have a deeper sense that you are alive. You’re in closer touch with your mortality than you might ever be, again. Be still and feel yourself live.

Take that single breath of icy air. Rejoice. Winter has come and the first snow has fallen.

A look at famous authors

December 2019 – A Christmas Classic

A Christmas Classic Saved a Writer Glenda Bonham

It’s just not Christmas without a telling of the classic tale of ‘A Christmas Carol’. We all know the names of Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, and Ebenezer Scrooge. Over 150 years and 150 Christmas Eves have passed since Charles Dickens penned the famous tale.

Few readers know Charles Dickens was dead broke, in debt, and on the verge of eviction at the time he wrote it. He had already gained popularity for his other works, but also donated his earnings flamboyantly to charity organizations and to beggars on the streets of London. He was the father of four children and his wife was expecting with a fifth.

Dickens had grown up bitterly poor, for his father and older brother had been cast into ‘debtors’ jail’ when Charles was only 12. He went to work at a blackening factory to support the family. After grueling months of labor in child slavery conditions, Charles understood wanton poverty and loathed it. He later wrote himself out of poverty. This was a rare feat for an author in 1843.

The short story took six weeks to write and he borrowed money to self-publish and get it into print. He could only afford to print 6,000 copies, but it went on sale on December 3 ahead of the Christmas season, which started on December 15th. By Christmas Eve all 6,000 copies had been sold.

‘A Christmas Carol’ became a play and Dickens toured with the show, gaining more fame and a share of the profit from ticket sales. His story of a rich man who became generous, helped a poor man to once more claw his way out of poverty. That is a special kind of Christmas story. So, be generous to the less fortunate this Christmas season, for if nothing else, you might help salvage the future of another writer.

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Recipe

December 2019 Writers and Readers Quick Snack: Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark Submitted by Glenda Bonham

1 lb. Vanilla or Almond Bark
1 cup crushed peppermint candy canes

Cover a cookie sheet with foil.
Place candy canes in a heavy duty plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin or meat mallet. Set aside.
Melt bark in a glass bowl in the microwave at 30 second intervals stirred between heatings until smooth and creamy. Pour melted bark onto cookie sheet and spread out evenly. Sprinkle crushed candy canes on top and press in lightly. Allow to cool and break into pieces. Store at room temperature in an air-tight container.

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