Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Ollie Chandler Collection: Skip 2 and Read 1

Ollie Chandler is a police homicide detective.  So, now you’re primed to read a detective novel, right?  Wrong.  Sure Ollie follows police procedure with the assistance of newspaper reporters, but the first two novels (Deadline and Dominion) in this collection are abruptly interrupted by fantasy when we are given long, seemingly endless conversations of the dead in their afterlife and Ollie is only a supporting character to the reporter.  After dutifully keeping my eyes glued to the pages for the first half of the first novel, I decided that if I was ever going to finish the books, I would have to skip the heavenly scenes.  And so I did.

By the time I reached book number 3, I couldn’t wait to finish and be done.  Fortunately, the author tastefully limited the scenes in heaven in Deception.  In fact, I found it to be eminently readable and enjoyable and Ollie was a character I could root for.  So skip the collection and read Deception.

The first two books also contained anachronistic elements.  No one used cell phones and rather than pulling out a smart phone, it was a PDA.  That took me back and not in a good way.  Those elements could have easily been changed in the reprinting of the novels in this collection.  In fact, the author could have polished the first two books to make them more like the third. 

The first book was filled with every political and societal ill that would bother a right-leaning Evangelical Christian.  Yes, the author left no stone unturned in bringing the chip on the shoulder to light. 

The second book provides a thoughtful look at racism.

But it is only the final book, Deception, that steps into its own as a novel that carries you through the story’s twists and turns to the end. 

The Ollie Chandler Collection is selling for $12.99 today, but you can get the paperback of Deception for $6.40, so your choice should be simple. 


I received this book free through a book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Their Eyes Were Watching God

  Their Eyes Were Watching God
There is nothing better in life than reading a good book.  A book whose words draw you into a place beyond yourself.  Outside I watch snow clouds plummet like dead owls releasing their hold on the tree branches and dropping into the creek with such force that wet circles expand to mark the burial vortex.  But I digress.

I finished reading Their Eyes Were Watching God and it finished well.

The words hung with me.  I was transported.

Here are some of them (note: I read it on my Kindle, so I don’t have page numbers for these quotes).

Crushing aromatic herbs with every step he took.  Spices hung about him.  He was a glance from God. 

Anyone who looked more white folkish than herself was better than she was in her criteria, therefore it was right that they should be cruel to her at times, just as she was cruel to those more negroid than herself in direct ratio to their negroness.  Like the pecking-order in a chicken yard.  Insensate cruelty to those you can whip, and groveling submission to those you can’t.  Once having set up her idols and built altars to them it was inevitable that she would worship there.  It was inevitable that she should accept any inconsistency and cruelty from her deity as all good worshippers do from theirs.  All gods who receive homage are cruel.  All gods dispense suffering without reason.  Otherwise they would not be worshipped.  Through indiscriminate suffering men know fear and fear is the most divine emotion.  It is the stones for altars and the beginning of wisdom.  Half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers.  Real gods require blood. 

If you kin see de light at daybreak, you don’t keer if you die at dusk.  It’s so many people never seen de light at all.

The wind came back with triple fury, and put out the light for the last time.  They sat in company with the others in other shanties, their eyes straining against crude walls and their souls asking if He meant to measure their puny might against His. They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God.

Soon everything around downstairs was shut and fastened.  Janie mounted the stairs with her lamp. The light in her hand was like a spark of sun-stuff washing her face in fire.  Her shadow behind fell black and headlong down the stairs.  Now, in her room, the place tasted fresh again. The wind through the open windows had broomed out all the fetid feeling of absence and nothingness.  She closed in and sat down.  Combing road-dust out of her hair.  Thinking.  The day of the gun, and the bloody body, and the courthouse came and commenced to sing a sobbing sigh out of every corner in the room; out of each and every chair and thing.  Commenced to sing, commenced to sob and sigh, singing and sobbing.  Then Tea Cake came prancing around her where she was and the song of the sigh flew out of the window and lit in the top of the pine trees.  Tea Cake, with the sun for a shawl.   .  .  The kiss of his memory made pictures of love and light against the wall.  Here was peace.  She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net.  Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her should.  So much of life in its meshes!  She called in her soul to come and see.

If only I could write sentence like those.  Filled with sound and truth and motion.  Words that make the heart sing and tears flow. 

Do you have some favorite sentences?  Paragraphs?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Sadness of Shopping

When my husband and I purchased our first (and so512CommunityClosetThriftStoreItems far, only) home, I furnished it with thrift store finds from a repurposed buffet in the living room to a round table in the corner of the bedroom, a sofa for the rec room, and an assortment of lamps and other objects.

Over the past week I have scoured local thrift stores to furnish my newest acquisition:  a large vacation rental property which I will be closing on in the next couple of months.  I need cheap items to furnish it because I won’t have enough money to buy new.  What did I find in those thrift stores? 

Where once there were entire large sections of floor space devoted to furniture, now there is almost none.  Where once I found great looking, quality lamps, now there are only a few worthless ones.  And the shelves in those stores are filled with junk.  People I see are shopping only for clothing and children’s items. 

And that makes me sad.  Sad at the vast aisles of other people’s once carefully purchased clothing.  Sad that I’m seeing the end result of the treasures they paid top dollar for at some department store.  Sad that much of my mother’s carefully acquired items and my own with one day be worthless.

Where has all the good stuff gone?  My husband attributes the dearth of quality lamps and furniture in the thrift stores to the economy.  He says that people are keeping their useful items.  But, I know that’s not entirely true.  I see furniture in garage sale listings and auctions at a much higher price than I would have paid at a thrift store.  And, maybe that’s the answer.  People are selling everything outright rather than giving it to the thrift stores. 

If any of you have things to sell cheaply or know of someone who does, please let me know.  I hate wasting my time attending garage sales that don’t have what I need.  I need lamps, end tables, decorative items (I’m especially looking for black metal and wrought iron).  I need things that are durable, preferably wood and metal rather than glass and ceramic.  (I just won an end table and wooden lamp for about $5.00 at an auction, but that is an anomaly.)  In the future I will need a dining table or two and outdoor furniture.  So, keep me in mind when you or someone else thinks of disposing of things in the next couple of months.  



Picture By Sparklingdawg (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons