Thrift Shop Haul…Books, Books, and More Books

Thrift Shop Haul…Books, Books, and More Books

I am a huge fan of the thrift store. To quote Macklemore “Savin’ my money and I’m hella happy that’s a bargain.” Okay, don’t judge my quotebles. My point is that as a book lover and an author I find myself searching the shelves of my local Salvation Army, Goodwill, and antique stores for great reads or titles I want to add to my collection. This week I struck gold!

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I found a vintage copy of Interview With the Vampire. If you know me you know I love Anne Rice and I buy her books anytime I see them. I have multiple copies of Interview from different print runs. This haul included not only Interview but also a copy of The Vampire Lestat and The Vampire Armand. Score!

I also found the first three Harry Potter books by JK Rowling. When I tell you that these things are hard to find on a thrift budget, I’m not kidding. I picked up books 4 and 7 about two weeks ago at the Salvation Army for a buck each and almost lost my mind. (Just FYI I have the whole collection in paperback that I purchased from B&N. I contributed to the author as any fan should and now I enjoy “rescuing” copies from the thrift store.)

A bonus find (for me anyway) was the addition of two Twilight Saga books, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. I know, I know. Some people see it as sacrilege considering how much I love Anne Rice. Let me just say that I feel as if the only thing the two series have in common is the word “vampire”. That’s it. I enjoy both series for vastly different reasons and I think both authors would agree that you can love them both. Bam.

Finally, I picked up a copy of Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. I have always been fascinated with the Geisha culture. I find it intensely interesting and I have read Geisha of Gion by Mineko Iwasaki whom Arthur Golden interviewed for his book. I haven’t seen the movie based on Golden’s book or read the book itself so I am curious.

All in all I think I racked up and I cant wait to see what treasures I find next week!

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Grief and Living:

My dad’s birthday is tomorrow. He would have been 63. My dad, Errol Brown passed away in 2013. I don’t like to think about the day he died as an anniversary. Don’t get me wrong. I know the date, I know the time. I just don’t like to dwell on it. I do however, like to celebrate his birthday. I’m not talking bells and whistles. I just mean that I like to sit and think about him, really try to remember those things about him that I loved and cherished.

I decided to put up this post because I think that grief is a terribly tricky thing. In the beginning there is a numbness that overtakes you. I think, for me, it was a way of protecting myself from the overwhelming sadness of my dad’s passing. I just kind of sat there, staring off, thinking about the fact that my dad wasn’t in this world anymore. I thought about how the sun was still shining and the Earth was still turning even though this monumental shift had occurred. And then, there were tears. Days and days of tears. I cried when I was driving, eating, even in the few fitful nights of sleep I got, there were tears.

When we got around to planning a funeral I witnessed something that changed me forever. I saw that grief had affected me in a very different way then it had other members of my family. I saw people who hadn’t seen my father in years show up out of the blue and take off with some of his belongings. I saw people yell and demand that they had a right to his things but then didn’t show up at the funeral. I wondered how anyone could be worried about who would get what when all I wanted was my dad. All I wanted was to see him one more time.

The loss of my father was stinging and his absence was glaring. I knew that he would have put everyone in their place if he had been there. He was the peacekeeper. He would give you the shirt off of his back. He would give you everything even if it meant he had nothing. That anyone felt they had to steal from him was a disgrace to his memory.

The ebb and flow of the emotions I was feeling consumed me. Very shortly after my dad’s passing I went to work (at a job I absolutely detested). I tried to just move forward. What I realized is that I couldn’t just move on. I couldn’t just walk through life numb and sad and angry. I realized that I had to process what was happening and how I was feeling.

I went home and I had an honest conversation with myself. I said aloud what I knew to be true. I can’t control the actions of others. I can’t turn back time. I can’t have my dad back. I also, in a moment of clarity, realized a few other things. I realized that I CAN control my reaction to these events. The world is still spinning. My kids and husband still need me. And most importantly, my dad would want me to be happy.

I decided to commit myself to doing the things that made me happy. I spent more time with my kids. I quit my shitty soul crushing job and sat down to write the novel that went on to become Six Points of Light (which is dedicated to him). I sang and danced and rejoiced because I could. Because I wanted to. I wanted to be happy and I could hear my dad’s voice say “Well, do it then.”

Death is a part of life. Loss is a process. Forgiveness is something that cannot be underestimated in its ability to heal. I went forward with hope and determination to do something meaningful. to be more than what I thought I could be.

If you are grieving the loss of loved one I would say. Sit in that pain and allow it to wash over you. Allow yourself to feel it. Cry, scream, get angry. Do all of those things, but then, do something else. Understand that you are still here and you are a soul with a light that is still burning. Feed that flame in memory of your loved one. It was so hard for me to see that the world around me hadn’t appeared to change at all after my father’s death. I felt as if the ground had opened up and swallowed me whole, but now I understand why. It’s to show you that life is still out there waiting for you to live it. The sun rises and sets because it can. And that is a beautiful sight to behold, made even more brilliant by the understanding that the time we have here is precious.

Thanks for reading.

The Importance of Reading to Children

The Importance of Reading to Children

I have loved books since I was a child. I remember reading The Hidden Staircase, a Nancy Drew mystery when I was about seven and not being able to put it down.

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I knew that I had discovered something that I would cherish my entire life.

The world within a book can be so many things. It can serve as an escape, an adventure, a learning experience. I get lost in those worlds and from the time my children were babies, I have read to them. 

I can’t tell you how happy it makes me when I see my 8 year old curled up in the corner with a book. My kids love to read and I have seen how it benefits them. Their scores in reading are through the roof and their expressive language is always improving. The love I have for literature and music has been passed on to them and I think it’s one of the most important things I will ever do for them.
So,why read to your kids? Other than the fact that it’s thoroughly enjoyable, reading aloud to your children has a wide range of benefits.

Academic Aptitude
Studies have shown that children who are exposed to reading prior to kindergarten are more likely to excel in all areas of formal education.You’re literally giving your child a head start when you read to them. The ability to listen and interpret information is invaluable in a classroom setting.

Quality Time
Reading to your child can help foster strong family bonds. Of course there are many ways to build strong relationships with our children but sitting down to read a book before bed with my kiddos is something we always look forward to. I think I enjoy it as much as they do! We could all use a little quality quiet time with our kiddos. Try reading one chapter of a kid friendly novel each night. It will give your kids something to look forward to at bed time.

Expanding Basic Language and Self Expression Skills
As your child listens to you read, they will be exposed to words and expressions they may not hear on an every day basis. Expanding your child’s expressive language allows for better communication. Children often struggle with expressing themselves and when you read to them you are giving them the tools they need to do so more effectively.

Reading Can Be Fun!
Your child’s school days will be filled with reading and while not all of it will be fun or exciting, reading to your child can show them that reading can be enjoyable. Reading can be an opportunity to lose yourself in a whole new world. A child who is a strong reader will be less likely to dread reading at school.

If you yourself have a love of reading, share it with your kids! It’s a gift that will last a lifetime.