It’s Monday! What are You Reading?

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It’s time once again for Kathryn’s weekly meme, “It’s Monday! What are You Reading?”, hosted at Book Date, where we share what we’re reading and have read over the past week.

A quieter week – no disasters, although the surgeon said to expect to see my hubby’s wound to keep leaking for at least another month at least! Ugh. 

What I Read Last Week

I read 5 books –2 historical romances, a non-fiction, a fantasy and a science fiction.

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The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I read this for my writer’s book club and we finished it this week. Glad I read it, but proved to be just okay.

 

2 Historical romances by Kelly Bowen, both of which I enjoyed:

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Duke of My Heart             Between the Devil and the Duke

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Eyes of Ice by J.C. Andrijeski. Another great read from this dystopian future involving vampires, seers and humans.

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Throwing Shade by Deborah Wilde. This fantasy/paranormal was such a fun read. Lots of humour and great characters. Especially enjoyed Mitzi – an older woman who reclaims her magic and her moxie.

What I’m Reading Now 

5 Little Indians by Michelle Good

What’s Up Next

Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Connect Five Friday – 5 New Series

 

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It’s time once again for Connect Five Friday,  hosted at Book Date by Kathryn – the meme where we share five book/reading things that connect in some way.

This past month I have discovered several new series and authors – 4 of them beginning with a free ebook. I am juggling 4 now to finish all the books in the series – the 5th I just finished the last today.

Here are 5 new series, in 4 different genres (I’ve included covers of the books I’ve read):

Kelly Bowen’s “Season for Scandal” historical romance series – just finished it and loved it. This was the only one I got through the library.

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J.C. Andrijeski’s “Vampire Detective Midnight” series – which pushed me to join KU so that I could get the other 4 books of the series. Loved the characters, the world-building of this scifi dystopian series. Still have 3 to read.

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Deborah Wilde’s “Magic After Midlife Series”– just started the series and loving it. But what’s not to love – the humour, an older female MC, a hot shifter, the magic.

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Tamara Leigh’s “Age of Faith” series – this medieval historical fiction/romance was an enjoyable read. There are 8 books in the series, although I just read the first 3.

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Kay Lyons/Stockham’s “Taming the Tulanes” series – a contemporary romance series set in a small town. I’ve read the first 2 of 5 and plan to read the rest of this enjoyable series.

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It’s Monday! What are You Reading?

its mondayit2527s2bmonday25212bwhat2bare2byou2breading

It’s time once again for Kathryn’s weekly meme, “It’s Monday! What are You Reading?”, hosted at Book Date, where we share what we’re reading and have read over the past week.

Finally, it was my turn to visit emerg – which I did Friday after direction from my doctor. She wanted to rule out heart problems – sore shoulder arm, nausea, chills. After 4 hours I left with an okay heart, Tylenol 3 prescription and a note to get physio. Muscle strain? Possibly. It is still sore, there’s still nausea and no, I won’t (can’t) take Tylenol 3. Maybe physio.

 

What I Read Last Week

I read 6 books – a romance, 2 historical romances, a woman’s fiction, a fantasy and a science fiction.

 

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Sister’s Choice by Emilie Richards. Have loved this Shenandoah series and have read the last one, which I so enjoyed.

 

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 The MacGregor’s Lady by Grace Burrowes. The third book in her historical fiction series “The MacGregor’s”, and a most enjoyable read.

 

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A Duke to Remember by Kelly Bowen. Another enjoyable book in her historical romance series, A Season for Scandal.

 

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Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews. Another fantasy book in their Kate Daniels world. Just as good as the original series.

 

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Vampire Detective Midnight by J.C. Andrijeski. I got this as a free ebook and am now addicted to this dystopian future involving vampires, seers and humans. Joined KU just so I could read all 5 in the series. Great world-building.

 

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Their Secret Bargain by Kay Lyons. Another free ebook which I really enjoyed. But then, I love books with teachers as main characters.

        

What I’m Reading Now 

Eyes of Ice by J.C. Andrijeski

5 Little Indians by Michelle Good

 

What’s Up Next

Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout

 

Connect Five Friday – A Balanced Reading Life?

 

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It’s time once again for Connect Five Friday,  hosted at Book Date by Kathryn – the meme where we share five book/reading things that connect in some way.

Reading has been a godsend for me the past few years what with all the health issues my hubby has had (and my poor old arthritic knees!), especially when he spent 4 months in hospital last year.

Being retired has freed me to read voraciously – usually a book a day. And books from many genres as well. I read a wonderful post by Carol at Reading Ladies, entitled “Is a Balanced Reading Life Important?

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I answered her questions after reading the post and it has still left me thinking about it. I do try to have a balanced reading life. And so, I have come up with 5 reasons why I need a balance reading life and why it is important:

  1. As a mood reader, I need to have a variety of books on hand. I tend to read 3-5 books at a time – a romance, a fantasy, a non-fiction, a book or 2 from the library. That way I can switch back and forth.

2, I want to learn so I turn to non-fiction regularly – to learn a new skill (right know that is digital photography), to learn about the past, to learn about others, to improve my writing.

3. I read mentor texts in the genre I am writing – from romance to MG to picture books. These give me guidance as I write.

4. If a movie is coming out, I try to read the book it is based on first.

5. And then sometimes I just read for fun, especially after a heavy, emotional book.

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Join in the discussion here.

It’s Monday! What are You Reading?

its-mondayit2527s2bmonday25212bwhat2bare2byou2breading

It’s time once again for Kathryn’s weekly meme, “It’s Monday! What are You Reading?”, hosted at Book Date, where we share what we’re reading and have read over the past week.

This is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and I have a lot to be thankful – hubby’s health is improving, family and friends are well, delicious turkey dinner, great books, lovely weather.

 

What I Read Last Week

I read 8 books – 3 pix books, a romance, 2 historical romances, a woman’s fiction and a memoir.

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Odyssey of Love by Linda Jamsen. I read this for a review and really enjoyed this memoir. Read my review here.

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 It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey. I enjoy any book she writes.

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Lover’s Knot by Emilie Richards. Another enjoyable book in her Shenandoah series.

Two historical romances by Kelly Bowen, both enjoyable:

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Last Night with the Earl              A Rogue by Night

3 picture books I enjoyed

Butterflies are Pretty Gross by Rosemary Mosco, illus. Jacob Souva

Woodland Dreams by Karen Jameson, illus. Marc Boatavant

Miss Molly’s School of Kindness by Zanna Davidson, illus. Rosie Reeve

What I’m Reading Now 

Sister’s Choice by Emilie Richards

The MacGregor’s Lady by Grace Burrowes

 

What’s Up Next (Still – too many other books are coming due at the library and need to finish them!)

Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout

5 Little Indians by Michelle Good

Connect Five Friday – a little late

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It’s time once again for Connect Five Friday,  hosted at Book Date by Kathryn – the meme where we share five book/reading things that connect in some way.

I am late coming to this challenge as it is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and I have been busy. Turkey dinner with all the trimmings on Saturday – but with just 3 of us. Nothing like the dinners pre covid. But I am thankful that we are all doing okay – even if we are separate.

With the holiday in mind, I decided that I would share 5 authors I am thankful for:

Susanna Kearsley. She is my favourite author, a Canadian, and an exceptional author. Most of her books are historical fiction or have a dual time-line. My favourite of her books – The Rose Garden 

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Anne Bishop. She is my favourite fantasy author, of my favourite series – The Others. This is the only series I have ever reread.

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Louise Penny. Another Canadian, she has the wonderful Inspector Gamache series that takes place in the small Quebec town of Three Pines.

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Kelly Bowen. I have just discovered this Canadian author who was born in the same city as I did (Winnipeg, Manitoba). I’m so enjoying her historical romance novels.

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There are so many wonderful authors, that I am choosing the latest author I am enjoying:

Emilie Richards. I am reading the last novel of her Shenandoah series and loving it (Sister’s Choice).

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WOW Review of Odyssey of Love by Linda Jämsén 

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I am honoured to be part of the WOW! Women of Writing Blog Tour for Linda Jämsén”s Oddyssey of Love which I read and am now reviewing.

(Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.)

My Review:

Linda Jämsén’s memoir pulled me in through a number of avenues:

~ as a teacher, who at one time was an ESL teacher and who travelled to the NWT to teach, far from home

~as an older woman who sought love and finally found her match

~as a lover of music

~as someone drawn to Mary, mother of Jesus

I have never been to Eastern Europe and Linda described the countries she visited and lived in so well, especially Budapest. Learning a bit of the Hungarian culture and language was an added bonus.

As she described places she visited and music she played, I found myself looking up cathedrals and towns and even playing music by Liszt. I definitely would love to visit many of these places.

Her writing style was so personal – I felt like we were sharing a pot of tea and she was sharing her life story. So many emotions filled the pages – from sadness, to hope, to embarrassment to love. It was so easy to visualize her adventures. The advice she received, “to settle down, not settle for” was so wise. And Linda followed that advice several times.

I highly recommend Linda’s memoir. It drew me in from the beginning and I was rooting for her to find her soul mate.

About the book Odyssey of Love:

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When Linda doesn’t receive the marriage proposal she had long been expecting from her boyfriend on her 41st birthday, she reluctantly visits a psychic, Angelica, who predicts that Linda will soon leave him for a romantic and music-filled Odyssey in Europe. There, a “Russian icon” will lead to her future husband, a “tall man with glasses.” 

Skeptical at first, but eager to explore her Eastern European roots and reignite her passion for music, Linda moves to Hungary, the land of her idol, composer-pianist Franz Liszt. In Budapest, she reinvents herself as an English teacher and joins a chorus. Soon, she’s performing at the Liszt Academy of Music and Tel Aviv’s Opera House.

With Angelica’s vision in mind, Linda vows to “settle down, not settle for,” but is tempted by romantic close calls: Gabi is gorgeous but too immature; David in Amsterdam fits Angelica’s description to a T, but his British reserve needs some defrosting. Liszt look-alike Ádám has it all, including a wife.

With her teaching and singing gigs ending, Linda flies to Finland for one last trip before moving back to Boston. But is her Odyssey truly over, or is it just beginning?

Publisher: Tulipan Press (May 2021)

Pages: 320

ISBN-10: ‎ 194860499X

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1948604994

Genre: Memoir

About the Author, Linda Jämsén

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Linda Jämsén is an American ex-pat writer-musician living in Finland. She grew up in New York, holding a book in one hand while exploring the piano keyboard with the other. Mesmerized by her mother’s playing of the Romantic repertoire, she soon studied piano with her and later graduated with a B.A. in Music from Bard College. Linda is also an avid choral singer and has performed in Hungary, Finland, the UK, and Israel. 

During her years in Boston, Linda raised funds for a variety of philanthropic causes and completed the graduate management course at Radcliffe Seminars/Harvard. However, longing to return to her musical roots, in 2001 she moved to Budapest, land of her musical idol, Franz Liszt. There, she volunteered for the Music Academy in his name and received a CELTA certificate from International House, where she then taught English as a foreign language. Her musical, romantic, and travel adventures abroad inspired her to write Odyssey of Love: A Memoir of Seeking and Finding, her literary debut.

Linda lives on an island in Helsinki with her husband, the “tall man with glasses” from the memoir, and their treasured Russian icon. A sequel, Triptych, is in the works.

To follow the author, visit her website at www.lindajamsen.com. Make sure you also follow her on InstagramTwitterFacebook, and GoodReads.

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— Blog Tour Schedule

September 20th @ The Muffin

We kick off the blog tour over at WOW! Women on Writing’s blog, The Muffin, where we interview the author and give away a copy of this amazing memoir.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

September 21st @ One Writer’s Journey

Join Sue as she features author Linda Jämsén’s guest post about how to organize and host a kick-ass virtual book launch event at little cost.

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

September 22nd @ Create Write Now

Join Mari as she publishes author Linda Jämsén’s guest post about what inspired her to start journaling.

https://CreateWriteNow.com

September 23rd @ One Writer’s Journey

Visit Sue’s blog again where she reviews Linda Jämsén’s memoir Odyssey of Love.

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

September 24th @ The Faerie Review

Join Lily when she features Linda Jämsén’s memoir Odyssey of Love.

https://www.thefaeriereview.com/

September 26th @ Michelle Cornish’ Blog

Join Michelle as she shares her review of Linda Jämsén’s memoir Odyssey of Love.

https://www.michellecornish.com/blog

September 28th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews

Join Lisa as she interviews author Linda Jämsén about her experiences and writing her memoir Odyssey of Love.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

September 30th @ Choices

Come by Madeline’s blog today and you can read a fascinating guest post by the author about how a visit to a psychic ended up changing her life.

http://madelinesharples.com/

October 1st @ Michelle Cornish’ Blog

Visit Michelle’s blog again and you can read a guest post by the author about self-publishing versus traditional publishing and why she chose the former.

https://www.michellecornish.com/blog

October 3rd @ Word Magic

Join Fiona as she features Linda Jämsén’s memoir Odyssey of Love and gives away a copy of the book to one lucky reader.

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

October 5th @ A Storybook World

Stop by Deirdra’s blog and read a feature of Linda Jämsén’s memoir Odyssey of Love. A memoir you don’t want to miss if you are looking for love!

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

October 6th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Beverley’s blog and read a guest post by the author about publishing as a debut author in mid-life. Don’t miss this inspiring post!

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

October 8th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Come by Beverley’s blog again and you can read her thoughts about Linda Jämsén’s memoir Odyssey of Love.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

October 11th @ What is That Book About

Visit Michelle’s blog and read Linda Jämsén’s guest post about taking chances in mid-life and finding adventures and true love.

https://www.whatisthatbookabout.com/

October 12th @ Alanna Jean

Alanna features Linda Jämsén’s guest post about top European travel destinations.

https://alannajean.com/blog/

October 14th @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog today and read her review of Linda Jämsén’s memoir Odyssey of Love.

http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/

October 15th @ The Forgotten Books

Join Heather as she reviews Linda Jämsén’s memoir Odyssey of Love on her Instagram page.

https://www.instagram.com/The_forgotten_books_/

October 18th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey

Visit Kathleen’s website as she reviews Linda Jämsén’s memoir Odyssey of Love.

October 20th @ Words from the Heart

Visit Linda’s blog where she reviews Linda Jämsén’s memoir Odyssey of Love.

https://contemplativeed.blogspot.com/

October 24th @ Leslie’s Voice

Join Leslie on her blog today and read her review of Linda Jämsén’s memoir Odyssey of Love.

https://lesliesvoice.com/

Guest Post by Linda Jämsén – The Perks and Perils of Publishing in Midlife (Part of the WOW Blog Tour)

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I am honoured to be part of the WOW! Women of Writing Blog Tour for Linda Jämsén’s memoir Odyssey of Love. .

Today Linda is visiting my blog for a wonderful guest post about the pros and cons of publishing as a midlife author .

Welcome Linda!

 

The Perks and Perils of Publishing in Midlife

 When I first started to write my recently released memoir, Odyssey of Love, I was in my late forties and had no inkling that my words would one day be released into the world. At that time, I was teaching English in Helsinki, where I lived with my Finnish husband, and my focus was on settling down in my newly adopted country. Writing was purely a form of therapy I engaged in after the unexpected death of my father weeks before my wedding.

At first, I penned vignettes about my dad, such as imagining the father-daughter dance that never was. Then, I started writing about people I had met while living in Budapest prior to meeting my husband, including some of the comical situations and romantic close calls I’d encountered as an American expat. These musings later became chapters in Odyssey of Love, although it took some years to string them together.

Feeling a bit bolder as I entered my fifties, I workshopped the first chapter of Odyssey at a pitch session in New York City to gauge initial reactions. After receiving positive feedback, I contemplated finding a literary agent and pursuing the traditional publishing route. However, I still wasn’t sure how comfortable I felt sharing such a personal story. I needed time to mull over that decision.

Time was the biggest advantage I had as an aspiring midlife author. I didn’t feel pressured to publish to make money (not that that’s a realistic goal), as I was financially secure and already had had several careers. I could also take my time with editing, let scenes settle, and come back to them weeks later without worrying about deadlines.

Over the next several years, a series of family challenges and an eye illness set me back. Unable to use the computer due to light sensitivity, I found refuge in my first love—music—by singing in several choruses and playing piano. While I continued to write in my diaries and pen poetry, my manuscript was never far from my thoughts. With a heavy heart, I wondered if I’d ever be able to complete it.

As my eyes slowed healed, I reunited with my computer, revised my manuscript, and hired a professional editor. A few writer’s conferences and meetings with literary agents later, I decided to self-publish Odyssey of Love. Even though professionals had warned that the industry was “flooded with memoir” and suggested I fictionalize the entire story, I was not deterred and would do it my way. Likewise, if Odyssey was “too similar to Eat, Pray, Love,” well, that was a compliment in my book.

Last fall, with all my concerts and rehearsals canceled, I decided it was time for Odyssey to take flight. So many people were struggling and suffering during the pandemic, and I thought that if even a few were touched or helped by reading about my personal experiences, then it was worth the investment in time and resources. I enrolled in an online marketing course for indie authors, which revealed the steep learning curve I faced with social media as a midlifer. Upon hearing the words “instagrammer” and “bookstagrammer,” I felt about 100 years old. Even though I was active on my Instagram social account, I’d no idea Instagram was a magnet for drawing book lovers and authors together. The instructor advised me to set up an author account, which seemed premature as I didn’t even have a book launch date. I also cringed when I noticed that most book-related accounts were geared toward thirtysomethings. However, because my book is targeted at women included in that age group, I began posting and engaging. To my delight, Odyssey continues to be reviewed and recommended by “influencers.” Who knew?

In the end, I wound up hiring the company that ran the course to help me self-publish and promote Odyssey. I’m grateful that I was able to afford this professional assistance, an expensive “splurge” I never could have taken in my youth.

Yes, there are benefits to publishing at “a certain age” if you are ready to face the challenges and constantly be willing to learn and adapt. (Next up: BookTok.) Overall, it’s been a joy to be immersed in a new creative outlet when many people my age are dreaming of retirement. I agree with Betty Friedan that: “Aging is not lost youth, but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”

If you are considering publishing in midlife, I encourage you and wish you a lot of luck!

 

 Thank you so much Linda for this fascinating post on the pros and cons of publishing as a midlife author. You’ve given me much to think about as an older author.

Be sure to check out all the stops along the way for this book tour.

Odyssey-of-Love-blog-podcast-tour

It’s Monday! What are You Reading?

 

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It’s time once again for Kathryn’s weekly meme, “It’s Monday! What are You Reading?”, hosted at Book Date, where we share what we’re reading and have read over the past week.

Ready for the continuing saga of my hubby? We spent last Monday in emerg as he has another opening in his incision. Waited 3+ hours to have the doctor enlarge the hole, put in more packing and give him antibiotics. So, here’s hoping the healing quickens!

What I Read Last Week

I read 6 books – 2 romances, an historical romance, 2 non-fiction books, and a woman’s fiction.

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A Tail for Two by Mara Wells. This was the final in the series and I enjoyed it.

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Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. After several weeks of study of this book, I finished it. What a powerful book.

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Endless Chain by Emilie Richards. I’m catching up on this series by Richards and loving the novels. Just picked up the last book from the library today.

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Words I Wish I Wrote by Robert Fulghum. A quick read, filled with so many special quotes.

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A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen. A most enjoyable historical romance

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Moonlight and Belladonna by Jae Dawson. An ebook I chose to fulfill a reading challenge last month (school/teacher), I was pleasantly surprised at how well written it was and how caught up in the story I became.

What I’m Reading Now 

Odyssey of Love by Linda Jamsen (for a review)

 It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

What’s Up Next

Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout

5 Little Indians by Michelle Good

6 Degrees of Separation – From Jackson to Wagamese

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This is the first Saturday of the month which means that it is time for “Six Degrees of Separation“, the book challenge, hosted by Kate from “Books are My Favourite and Best “.

This is such a fascinating challenge and one I am always eager to begin, then follow the search for connected books. The fun is in the search for connections and each chain that is created is always so different.

The starting point for us this round is to begin with The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. This is classic short story, which appeared in the New Yorker in 1948. It is even considered horror. 

There were several possible paths to follow, but I decided to focus on the lottery aspect.

 1st Degree: Another classic short story, The Lottery Ticket, is by Anton Chekhov, the Russsian author and playwright and written in 1887.

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“When Ivan Dmitritch’s wife, Masha, invests her money in the lottery, he can help but feel it is a foolish waste of timing. However, having read through the rest of the paper, he agrees to check the numbers for his wife at her request. To his astonishment, the series number of Masha’s lottery ticket matches the winning series number. Without checking the rest of the number needed to win, both husband and wife quickly begin to fantasize about what they would do if they won the lottery. Their happy thoughts quickly turn to anger and hostility towards one another as they become greedy over the money. It is only then that Ivan consents to checking the final number to see whether or not their musings would come true. “

2nd Degree: From ticket to winner is Mary Higgins Clark’s The Lottery Winner, a series of stories about Alvirah Meehan and her husband who have won a huge lottery.

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“Alvirah Meehan, the former cleaning lady from Flushing, New York, who struck it rich in the lottery, made her first appearance in Mary Higgins Clark’s Weep No More, My Lady. After she narrowly survived a stalking killer in that best-selling novel, grateful fans clamored for her return. Mary Higgins Clark obliged with several splendid short stories starring the ever-resourceful Alvirah and her occasionally befuddled but always dependable mate, Willy.”

3rd Degree: A novel about a lottery winner whose life changes with her win is Anita Burgh’s book “Lottery”.

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“Can money solve one’s problems? Does money lead to happiness?
Peggy Alder, middle-aged, middle-class and struggling to make ends meet, is certain that if only the bills were paid her life would be perfect. Is she right? She soon finds out when a windfall transforms her life for ever. Everything changes as she struggles to come to terms with the realisation that nothing can ever be the same again.”

4th Degree: This led me to another novel about a woman who wins a lottery and whose life changes – Lotto Lucy by Kathlen Irene Patreka

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“Winning the lottery: $70 million.  Mending family relationships: Priceless.  
When James Bay journalist Lucy Carter wins the lottery, good fortune seems guaranteed. But even $70 million in cold hard cash can’t help Lucy when it comes to dealing with some cold hard facts. No amount of money will buy back Grandma’s mind nor buy Lucy a reprieve from a strained mother/daughter relationship.”

5th Degree: This led to a novel by Christopher Klim, The Winners Circle, about a man whose winnings bring out the con artists and complications.

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“Striking it rich is as much a part of American folklore as it is the American dream. For unemployed autoworker Jerry Nearing, it’s the answer to his prayers, but when he wins millions in the lottery, his troubles have only begun. His life swarms with con artists who kidnap his time and money and just might keep him from recapturing the love of his life.

6th Degree: I had to include this novel by Richard Wagamese, Ragged Company, as we just held the first Truth and Reconciliation Day in Canada, and not only is it about a lottery win but it is one of my favourite books by Wagamese. Once again, it shows just how lives are changed when large amounts of money are won.

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“Four chronically homeless people–Amelia One Sky, Timber, Double Dick and Digger–seek refuge in a warm movie theatre when a severe Arctic Front descends on the city.
A found cigarette package (contents: some unsmoked cigarettes, three $20 bills, and a lottery ticket) changes the fortune of this struggling set. The ragged company discovers they have won $13.5 million, but none of them can claim the money for lack proper identification. Enlisting the help of Granite, their lives, and fortunes, become forever changed.”

I

I began with The Lottery and ended with Ragged Company– two books about how lotteries change lives.

Next month (November 6, 2021), we’ll start with Sigrid Nunez’s What Are You Going Through.