Sunday, March 14, 2021

How Beautiful We Were


Imbolo Mbue is one of my favorite voices in the literary world today. Thus far, her literary work consists of  just one novel, Behold The Dreamers. But what a novel it is. Perfectly written, impeccably crafted, with characters so authentically real, you'd swear they stood next to you in a crowded grocery store, or they are the parents of your son's classmates, and like so many other undocumented parents struggling to go unnoticed, but still make a living and raise their children in society, they remain quiet, still, causing no ripple, making no noise. But they are so there, and they are so real.

In Behold The Dreamers, Mbue gave them a voice, made them alive, and relatable. They are more like as than not, with dreams as wide as the sky. In Behold the Dreamers, we see clearly the one percent of society and the working class and how both live, good and bad. Behold the Dreamers is a compelling and relatable story, and, well, she did it again. Imbolo Mbue has created another fine novel in, How Beautiful We Were. I picked my copy up this afternoon from Barnes & Noble, the mothership. I am about 100 pages in and, wow, just, wow. Imolo Mbue is currently one of the world's best women writers and her follow-up novel only solidifies her among the great writers of our time.

Happy Reading

#ImboloMbue #howbeautifulwewere #newrelease #books #smartpeopleread #maderareads

Saturday, February 20, 2021


Books to Read Before You Die.

25 Books to Read Before You Die

In 2014, I began reading Powell's 25 Books to Read Before You Die. Some of the books listed I had read while either in college or in my leisure time. Many of the authors and novels  on Powell's 25 Books to Read Before You Die, were unknown to me. But, an unknown  writer has never stopped me before and it wasn't about to now.

I have made it a mission to read all the books on the list. But, in doing so, I made myself a rules list to follow.

Rule One: No New Books. The 25 will all be used books. No mothership purchases, more like thrift store finds.

Rule Two: No E-books. The 25 will be kept as part of my personal book collection, whether I like the book or not.  

Rule Three, No Rush. As I am in no rush to die, so will I be in no rush to read through all the 25 books.

Over the past few years, I kinda put Powell's "25 Books to Read Before You Die" list on the back-burner. At the end of last year, I purchased David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest which was reasonably priced, like, three dollars reasonable. Can you believe that; three dollars for that mammoth of a book, and according to many a literary masterpiece? I have not read Infinite Jest so I will not call it a masterpiece.

Anyhow, that purchase, along with realizing I had collected many of the books listed. I have decided to once again to read my way through this collection. Anyone, interested in reading along with me? I welcome the company. Let me know what book you will begin with.


Powell's Books also has other cool little 25 book reading lists. So, if 25 Books to Read Before You Die is a little too morbid for you, try one of these delightful reading lists and get to reading.

• 25 Women to Read Before You Die
• 25 Books to Read Before You Die: World Edition
• 25 Memoirs to Read Before You Die
• 25 Books to Read Before You Die: 21st Century
• 25 Books to Read Before You Die: Pacific Northwest Edition

Let me end this by saying that I have been pleasantly delighted by some of these books that had it not been for Powell's recommendation, I would have never ventured out and cracked open the first page.

For instance, Geek Love by Katherine Dunn is a beautiful, odd, weird as hell, lovely story on family, love, sex, evil rulers, disabilities, personality traits, circus freaks, life and motherhood. I absolutely loved Geek Love. I never would have read it. I would have walked right past in a bookstore, had it not been for Powell's 25 Books to Read Before You Die. I am thankful for having committed myself to reading this list of books. Should every other book on this list be mush, (although, I doubt it), the knowledge of Geek Love and Katherine Dunn would have been worth it alone. Geek Love is astounding. A beautiful and odd novel. Worth every second of my life I spent reading it.

This should be fun. Join me in reading from this wonderful literary list.

Happy Reading!




 Check out the title of books here:

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Local Authors' & Artists' Day 2019

Literary events in the heart of California

On Saturday, October 19, the Friends of the Madera County Library hosted their 7th Annual Authors' and Artists' Day. Local Authors from across the valley came out and met with book-loving members of the community. 

If you were unable to attend the event but are interested in reading works from local writers, fret not, I have attached below names and websites from some of the authors.

Check it out, order a book or two and support local writers.

Thanks to everyone that came out. And to those that did not, I hope to see you at next year's Authors' and Artists' Day.  

Happy Reading

Diane Ainsworth

Larry Patten   
Glenna Jarvis  ,
Gail Daley          
Jon Latham      
Joe Ozier            
Carole Love Forbes



Friday, March 15, 2019

Anthem Book Review: New Year, New Published Story!

Anthem Book Review: New Year, New Published Story!:                                                    Good Morning My Fellow Literary Lovers, I wanted to share the good news with you...

New Year, New Published Story!

                                                  Image result for Published

Good Morning My Fellow Literary Lovers,

I wanted to share the good news with you. I have had my work published in an online literary journal, Rigorous. I welcome you to take a read. The story is titled, The Cave. 

Here is a little back-story to how my story began. I began working on the story in 2016. It was brought on by my mother making a couch into a bed for a family member that was staying over. My mother made the couch look so inviting, she tightly placed the sheets across the couch cushions, she snugly tucked in the corners of the bed sheet over the couch's body, she folded back the sheet to reveal a beautiful hotel looking bed/couch, and she fluffed the pillows into clouds of welcoming heaven. I remember thinking how inviting it looked and thought "what if the person that was going to sleep there wasn't coming to stay over on good terms, what if they had been abused and was running from their abuser. And that is how, "The Cave" was born, after many titles, many edits, here is a piece of that tale.

The actual story is much longer, but I had to edit it to meet the submission requirements. 


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

First Book of the Year- River Queens

River Queens: Saucy boat, stout males, spotted dog, America

                                         Dust jacket  for  River Queens: Saucy boat, stout mates, spotted dog, America

“Everyone wants to be invited.” Grandmother insisted in answer to my protests about inviting a kindergarten nemesis to my fifth birthday party. “Not everyone wants to come, but everyone wants to be invited.”
My responsibility is to invite everyone to participate in River Queens. My guest’s responsibility is to decide if the offer is right for them. Not everyone wants to read about two gay men bounding across the hinterlands in a fabulous vintage yacht.
Alexander  Watson – 18 October 2018
I want to say a huge thank you to Alexander Watson for inviting me to take part on his journey by reading River Queens. I received an advance copy of River Queens, courtesy of Mr. Watson. I am about halfway through the book and I must say it has been a peaceful and interesting sail.
Thus far, the best of 2019. Eight days into the new year, 139 pages into River Queens and I am smitten. Smitten with Watson's detailed, humorous and honest account of going outside the lines of life and truly LIVING.
I love his voice. Watson is a fine storyteller. River Queens has all my favorite things in life, rivers, an ever present and supporting mother, dogs, gay men and risk taking.

I look forward to reviewing this novel. As one can clearly tell  just by this introduction, I am completely in love with this memoir. Grab a copy at Amazon or order below from Watson's website and read with me. It is a reading journey I am confident you do not want to miss. Start off 2019 the right way, reading River Queens with Anthem Book Review. 

Order River Queens here:


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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Madera Reads Book Club

September 2018 

Madera Reads Community Book Club will meet for the final book discussion of Fahrenheit 451 on Saturday, September 29 at 6:00 p.m. at Starbucks on Howard Road. Join us for a wonderful discussion.

October 2018

Madera Reads October book selection is the powerful  memoir,  "Men We Reaped"  by Jesmyn Ward.

Come read with Madera Reads.

“In real life, I looked at my father and mother and understood dimly that it was harder to be a girl, that boys had it easier. Here, boys could buy and ride motorcycles and come and leave when they wanted to and exude a kind of cool while they stood shirtless at the edge of the street, talking and laughing with one another, passing a beer around, smoking cigarettes. Meanwhile, the women I knew were working even when they weren’t at work: cooking, washing loads of clothes, hanging them to dry, and cleaning the house. There was no time for them to just relax and be.” ― Jesmyn Ward

Written by Francine