Readerly Rambles: 19 September 2016



What I finished: Not a damn thing.

What I’m reading: I have three books going at the moment. I am participating in #GerminalAlong, but I’m behind. Last week I read the first 50 pages and I’m ready to read more. Germinal is a favorite that I haven’t read in ages. I’m also dipping into The Virago Book of Ghost Stories for RIP XI. It is perfectly spooky for rainy days (now if the cooler temps could just get here!). For poetry I’m reading Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey. Can I be honest? I don’t love it. I am deeply moved by the subject manner and as a sort of journaling about trauma, but I don’t dig this style of poetry. It verges on the cloyingly over dramatic. I’ll finish it and see if my opinion changes.

What’s up next: I’m hoping to finish at least one of the above titles this week and pick up some Patricia Highsmith reading for next week.


Happy Reading!

What’s Happening (And What’s Not)

What's Happening(and what's not)One day I’ll blog without referencing my lack of blogging or the busyness that consumes my life at the moment. Today is not that day. Instead of dwelling on the tumultuous past few weeks I thought I’d move forward as best as I can. I’m in a bit of a rough patch. Not a plunge into depression like last year, but my PTSD is bad. It started at a Crystal Castles concert earlier in the month. I was up front, got separated from Sam, and someone trying to get a picture was pulling on my shoulder/neck area to reach over me and get a picture. I proceeded to have a panic attack in the middle of the show. Sam got me outside and we left early. The next day I slept even though I had nightmares. Yesterday I had a flashback. I cannot divulge the circumstances as they concern someone else whose story is not mine to tell, but it was horrible. More nightmares. More sleeplessness.

Wow. I had no intentions of blogging all that. Suffice it to say I felt the need to explain why I am making a concentrated effort to return to blogging. Here I may blog about the difficult stuff, but I am always more focused on the fullness and loveliness of my life. Also, I’m really fucking lonely right now. Our schedules are busy and I can feel myself turning inwards too much. Introverting, yes. Isolation, no. I need community.

There are good things happening right now. We found out a town home in our apartment complex is opening up. We managed to nab it and will be moving in October 15th. We’ll be gaining about 250 square feet, a larger porch, storage, and a gas fireplace. It will feel more like a home than our current apartment. In October Sam is conducting a workshop at an Art Education Conference and I’m presenting at a library conference. I’m going to see Sharon Olds and Emma Donoghue in October.

I had a rejection notice today and it lifted my spirits. No, I’m not being sarcastic! There is a HUGE difference between a form rejection and a personal rejection letter. This note said that one of my three submissions was a favorite and almost made it in and they would love to see my work in the future. That makes my day. It gives me a renewed sense of purpose. All of this writing and editing and submitting will come to fruition one day. I’m so worried that I didn’t get into graduate school or the writing residency I applied for and I’m feeling like a big ole faker. A rejection noticed like this affirms that I have what it takes if only I will keep writing and refining.

If I don’t blog in the next day or two I want someone to come harass me on social media. I need to get my rear out of this funk.


Book Review: Eyes on the Island by Frank Reddy


Order here from Fiction Advocate. I was provided a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.


A mysterious island with secretive inhabitants, a troubled preacher, and plenty of coastal Georgia’s muggy storms are all featured in *Frank Reddy’s first novel, Eyes on the Island. Your spoiler free review? This is a damn good novel.

Will Fordham is a young preacher who has recently lost everything he ever cared about: his family, his position as a well-loved preacher, and his faith. When a long time mentor informs him of a preaching position on an island with a small artist colony, Will jumps at the chance to leave the past behind and work towards a new future. Instead, Will’s new position causes him to assess his values and finds him clinging even more strongly to the past.

I’ll leave it at that for plot. This book is best approached with fresh non-spoiler exposed eyes. I gulped down each page and wondered if there was a Lovecraftian horror lurking around the corner, or if Will was a delusional and unreliable narrator, or if a redemptive god would save Will. I didn’t know if I was reading a thriller concerning a cult or if it was a novel exposing the seedy underbelly of American church culture. With each turn of the page I was challenged to question where Reddy was taking me and it made for a thrilling ride.

Eyes on the Island is a quick and immersive read because it is perfectly paced and has excellent character development. This is not an empty fluffy thriller. In just over 160 pages, Reddy is able to weave together Fordham’s childhood, first career, marriage, and fatherhood and also provide a complex – albeit mysterious – history of the island and the inhabitants with ease. He does this by  using letters, journals, and news articles while splicing together the past and present throughout the narrative. The reader is easily able to transition between time periods and gain a full understanding of Will and develop a hunger to discover the secret of the island. This fully fleshed timeline helps Will emerge as a complex and sympathetic character. Often preachers are portrayed as wholly good or wholly evil. Will Fordham is wholly human. He struggles with choosing between what is easy and what is right. At moments I doubted his sanity and veracity and at other moments I was urging him to get the hell off that island.

Slim in size and big on thrills, Eyes on the Island is an engaging and thought-provoking read. Five stars!



*Disclaimer: Frank and I go way back. As in our mom’s were friends and we played together when we were in preschool. Honestly all I remember about Frank is his mom’s rad station wagon (sorry, Frank). We caught up over Facebook, but this is still an honest review. If it had sucked I would have thought of some reason not to review it. Thankfully, this novel is bad ass. Go read it. Now. Seriously, I’ll wait right here. 




Crazy about Autumn


Can you guess my favorite season?

Go ahead and guess… I’ll wait right here.

AUTUMN, duh. Yeah I know autumn doesn’t “officially” begin until later in the month and yeah it is still in the 80s in Georgia, but WHATEVER. I’ll make autumn work for me. Hence my autumn themed bullet journal, the pumpkin oatmeal cookies I baked with the kids this weekend, the cocoa, and the pumpkin spice candle.

Because I am one of those folks into Instagramming cozy pics of hot beverages and warm-hued blankets you better believe there will be tons of autumnal goodness saturating Fig and Thistle. I’ll be popping in periodically to blog about my autumn indulgences (could I maybe type the word autumn more? autumnautumnautumn). I’m also about to start up my season of soup posts. So much soup. Much warm belly. Good thing the library is constantly freezing; it helps me pretend the weather is cool. Grab a pumpkin spice latte, don a sweater, and join me in fangirling over dead leaves.


R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XI

Hey yo, look whose blogging!

Carl’s darkly delightful R.I.P. Challenge started on September 1st and runs through Halloween and I’m joining in! Carl describes RIP as:

“…a quest to bring a community of readers together to enjoy the literature most associated with the darkening days and cooling temperatures of Autumn:

Dark Fantasy”

I’m all about some autumn reading. I’ll be participating in several of the “perils.”


This peril is to read four books in the above genres (genre is loosely applied here). I present my RIPXI List:

  • Eyes on the Island by Frank Reddy
  • Suspension of Mercy by Patricia Highsmith
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero


I’ll be dipping into The Virago Book of Ghost Stories and The Thing on the Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft to get my short story fix.


I haven’t watched a blasted movie or TV show in ages. Let’s see here, I’ll try to watch at least three creepy things. I need to determine what I want to watch. There will certainly be some vintage horror in there.

Let me know if you’re joining in the spooky fun and what you have on your RIP list! 







… is it me you’re looking for?

I toyed with shutting down the blog, deleting half the blog, opening a new blog, etc… I finally decided to just say fuck it and see where I land. I think maybe I had too much going on and had no more fucks to give blogging.

Right now I’m serenaded by shattering glass. A half-dozen men are replacing the windows in our apartment building. Back in 1968 when the windows were last replaced, they set them into the brick of the building. The men are smashing the glass with crowbars and working out large slivers of window out of the frame. It looks like fun. I’d love to smash a window one good time.

Beau Kitty and Hope are tucked away in her bedroom. Hope had knee surgery today for some plica inflammation in her knee. Beau had stitches today. We woke up this morning to a bloody cat who had somehow sliced his back clean open (not from windows, that didn’t start until this afternoon). Sam missed a few minutes of class – first day back for this college term – to take the cat to the vet and shell out $500 for stitches and antibiotic injections.

Work is insane. I’m off for most of this week to tend to Hope, but it is the busy start to the semester and I have jury duty coming up the week after next.

And I co-presented a webinar on library marketing for 800+ people this month.

And I’m neck deep in other work.

And I applied to grad school.

And Atticus and Persy are in ballet.

And Atticus has had some Kindergarten growing pains.

And Persy called me a vagina head yesterday when I asked her to not call people a butt head.

And I had another poem rejected yesterday, which makes me think I should throw in the towel, but I can’t because I CANNOT QUIT WRITING.

So yeah, my plate is full…


… but I’m planning on posting again this week.




New Ideas, New Beginnings

Dear Folks,

I’m almost 100% sure that Fig and Thistle is going to close shop. I’m going to take the rest of August to think on things, but I’m almost positive this is the best decision.

I started out as a book blogger with very little life blogging and then I made the switch to life blogging with plenty of bookishness sprinkled in there. I feel that social media has become my favorite way to share bits and pieces of my life and engage in conversation. Pairing this with my love of journaling and other writing adventures and I just don’t have the time, energy, or heart to blog.

I do plan on blogging. Less blogging, but more focused blogging. I’ll let you know when I cook up another blog idea.

All the best,