No TV Weeks 9 to 16

Go ahead and be amazed. This TV junkie has been television-free for sixteen, count ’em, sixteen wonderful weeks. Sure, I ached that I missed the end of season episode of “Major Crimes” and hubby caught me muttering and carrying the remote around the house during the season finale of “Castle,” but thankfully, life has intervened to pull me out of the house and away from temptation.

No tv fly to VeniceI’ve hiked in the Smokey Mountains, flown with hubby to lunch in Venice, Florida, spent a few weekends near Asheville, visited family in Las Vegas for a week, and learned how to load and fire various handguns.

My evenings, previously spent in inertia on the sofa–remote in one hand, popcorn in the other–are now filled with stories by Janet Evanovich, Kristan Higgins, John Foxjohn, Sue Monk Kidd, Ian McEwan, Diane Capri, Liane Moriarty, Joshua Graham, and Kristin Hannah. I’ve even discovered books by first-time authors: Deborah Wilding’s Then I Met You, Martha Sibley George’s Goodbye, Miss Emily, and a few others I’m judging for the international Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence contest. Recently enjoyed the second novel by Noelle August. The first book was Boomerang and the second is Rebound. Also read an exciting medical thriller written by a physician friend that should be coming out soon.

twin-engine seaplaneI was hired by a national aviation magazine to report on Sun ‘N Fun, the annual general aviation gathering founded by the Experimental Aircraft Association, better known as EAA. Sun ‘N Fun begins next week in Lakeland, Florida. The Brietling Jet Team will be performing airshows, and a few friends will be receiving the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award next week. The son of friends will also be in town after being certified or approved to land on carriers. Is this a great life or what? I get PAID to meet my aviation heroes and write about them.

So, overall I have not missed television. I’m out having fun in the real world and reading wonderful, hilarious, and exciting stories. Oh, and I’m writing a few of my own. One is a 90,000-word suspense story with elements of romance, and the other is an 85,000-word suspense story with elements of romance. My BETA readers and critique partners are chewing through them now. All prayers are appreciated.

No TV Week 3

I smugly celebrate week three without TV. Okay, so I’m on two medications for bronchitis and need to keep moving so I don’t cough myself sick, but still. Week three. The family is placing bets on how long I’ll last. I fantasize about binge-watching all the stuff recorded on the DVR, and stock-piling a seasons’ worth of episodes from Netflix for next January. Hubby insisted that we go to a movie once in a while, so since it isn’t television, that’s a go.

Nonetheless, I am smug because so far this year I’ve read: Gifted Hands by Ben Carson, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, and I’m partway through The Job by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, and How to Make a Living as a Writer by James Scott Bell. Since I make a living as a writer, the last book is more about becoming familiar with Mr. Bell, who is speaking at a writer’s workshop in Charleston in a few weekends. I look forward to meeting him there. His books on writing nail their topics.

To celebrate my birthday this weekend, hubby is taking me out to a movie then the next day my daughter and son-in-law will go with us to American Sniper. This could easily tide me over for the week without television. Perhaps what I miss most about television is the stories: crime, fantasy, comedy, romance.

cropped-researchstackofbooks.jpgFalling back into books has filled that need for story and I believe reading is a more intimate thread between the author and the reader because books can easily dive deeper into a character’s thoughts and emotions than any movie can. Voice overs that speak the character’s thoughts in movies come off as artificial as stage asides. Rarely does a narrated voice in a movie work for me without breaking the magic because it is a reminder of being outside the story. Books entice the reader to climb into the stories more to explore new perspectives, cultures, worlds, and ideas. Books offer far more depth and scope to the stories than movie adaptations can. Sometimes the adaptations baffle me. Take for instance the Lord of the Rings series. The larger books were made into movies, but the smallest book was made into two movies. Same with the Harry Potter series. The last Harry Potter book stretched into two movies, one slooooow and one blazing fast. Irritating money-driven decisions perhaps to milk the enterprise.

The other upside of reading over television is my friendships with my book club. We love to debate stories over a meal. Goodreads.com is another reader’s paradise where diverse readers share their reviews of books. I have a Goodreads Page with my favorites listed.

What was the last book you read? And how long ago was that?

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

In Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, parents of primary schoolers choose up sides over a bullying issue that escalates when they meet at a school event where alcohol becomes an accelerant in the smoldering fires of deception, tension, and personality clashes. Madeline Martha Mackenzie discovers on the first day that her ex, the man who walked away from parenting over a decade ago, has a child in the same class as her daughter from her new husband. Madeline stirs up controversy when she tries to downplay a suspected bullying incident. Parents refuse to let the school handle things and soon take matters into their own unskilled hands. Pirriwee Public School is situated in a rural coastal town in Australia where surfers and the wealthy share local hangouts like the beachside café called Blue Blues. The narrative alternates between snippets of police interviews and the chronological play of events to arouse the reader’s curiosity. The reader is spurred on to discover the level of crime that marked the final showdown scene. The payoff is well worth the wait. Humanity in all its glory and pettiness blooms in the diverse, thoroughly rich characters and dialogue brought to life in Moriarty’s deft storytelling. I recommend this book for book clubs and avid readers as a real discussion-provoking and entertaining read.

Read an excerpt on Amazon by clicking on the book below.