What’s Been on My Kindle

Here are a few books I’ve been enjoying lately:

See What I Have Done, by Sarah Schmidt.

see what I have done

When I saw there was a novelization on the story of Lizzie Borden, I knew I had to read it. I wasn’t disappointed. Schmidt speculates on what might have gone through the mind of 32-year old Lizzie, during the days leading up to her father and stepmother’s ax murders in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1892. The result is appropriately creepy and mesmerizing, alternating between Lizzie’s point of view with that of her sister Emma, as well as that of a possible intruder on that fateful day. What emerges is a claustrophobic tale of rage and jealousy that culminated in murder.

Sleeping Beauties, by Stephen and Owen King.

sleeping beauties

I’m not the kind of King fan that reads every single novel he puts out, but every once in a while I’ll read one that stands out for me for whatever reason. And when I do, I’m reminded of why he is, indeed, the King. He wrote this one with his son, Owen, and I loved it. What if the women of the world fell asleep and didn’t wake up? That’s the premise of this story, which takes place in the small Appalachian town of Dooley. Women all around the world are falling asleep, presumably from what is being called the “Aurora virus”, and becoming cocooned in a white, web-like substance. Any attempt at unwrapping the women and waking them up leads to the sleepers becoming violent, with fatal results. In Dooley, a woman called Evie appears, the only woman who can sleep and wake again, and who seems to possess supernatural powers. How is she connected to the Aurora phenomenon? As the men left behind become increasingly desperate to wake their women up, Evie polarizes them into two factions who will fight either to protect her or threaten her. In the meantime, the sleeping women of Dooley find themselves in an alternate world with no men (and doing quite fine on their own, thank you), and must eventually make a fateful decision whether to stay and make a go of it, or go back to what was. This is a timely, fascinating story on the essential natures of men and women, wrapped up in a riveting supernatural tale that I found impossible to put down.

The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman.

rules of magic

I read Hoffman’s Practical Magic years ago (and watched the movie, of course) and enjoyed both. Even though my recollection of the story was vague, I was ready to read this prequel. Practical Magic was about the two Owen sisters, Sally and Gillian; this book centers on the youth of their elderly aunts, Frannie and Jet, as well as a heretofore unknown brother, Vincent. The setting is 1960’s New York City, for the most part, and the iconic events of that decade as a backdrop for the formative years of the Owens siblings. Frannie, the eldest, is practical and logical, and plans on becoming a scientist; Jet is sweet and a great beauty, and Vincent is independent and headstrong. All three of them have witchy powers, and all must contend with the “Owen curse” which dooms any person they fall in love with. I’ve always enjoyed Hoffman’s magical realism, and this one is no exception.

 

Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading lately? Drop me a line and we’ll talk about it!

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Keep Stabbing

Reassurance can come in some strange ways, sometimes.

Lilly¬† has been struggling with urinary tract infections (UTIs) for some time now. Every time it seems we have a handle on it, it comes back, like some monster that won’t die. I’m starting to suspect that the bacteria has begun to build a resistance to antibiotics. She just finished her latest round of cephalexin a few days ago; now she’s complaining of pain in her lower abdomen again, and pain with cathing.

Fed up with going to the doctor only to have more antibiotics prescribed, I’ve decided to try a different route: D-mannose. It’s a concentrate of the active ingredient in cranberries that helps with UTI’s. It’s better than drinking gallons of cranberry juice (which Lilly doesn’t like) with all the sugar in it that can cause more problems. I asked for advice on the spina bifida support group that I’m part of, and many people have recommended this natural product, along with some probiotics. I did a bit of research, and feel it’s a viable route for Lilly at this point.

d mannose

I couldn’t get my hands on any D-mannose at any of the three pharmacies here in our town, so I had to order it online (and pay an exorbitant amount of shipping to have it get here today). I’m going to try it for a several days, but if she doesn’t seem to get better, I’ll certainly get her to the doctor.

Lilly woke up this morning at 4:00 am needing to be cathed. Afterward, she was in such pain it brought her to tears. I gave her some generic AZO, and waited an interminable 10 or so minutes for it to kick in and her pain to subside. It finally did, but while my daughter was lying beside me in bed, writhing in pain and crying, the old meaningless questions roiled through my head again: Why does she have to go through this? Why my child? How are we going to deal with this over and over and over? Where am I going to find the strength to keep soldiering on with this? (Not just the UTI’s, but everything involved with SB).

She finally went back to sleep, and so did I. I dreamed Lilly and I were together in some big building. The building was filled with zombies (stick with me here). I had to protect her. I couldn’t carry her, she’s too big and heavy. She can’t run fast. The zombies were everywhere, endless, overwhelming. I picked up some meager but sharp weapons I found on the floor, one in each hand. I didn’t want to do this, didn’t want to be here, but here I was. As we hustled down hallways and zombies came near, I stabbed them in the chest. Over and over, I stabbed those monsters. Then I realized I’d done it wrong; you have to stab them in the head for them to die, or they’ll only come back. I doubled back and stabbed them again, this time in the head. Every time, I waited for that scratch or bite that would doom me, but it never happened. Stab, run, hide. Stab, run, hide. It went on and on; it seemed I had never known anything else.

zombies
E.coli’s coming! Again…and again…and again.

The mission never changed: keep her safe, keep her alive. We finally ended up in some small room or closet. I was trying to bar the door when I woke up as my husband came into the bedroom to get ready for work. I was never so happy for him to wake me up in the morning.

My first thought was: thank god, there’s no zombie apocalypse. My next thought was, yeah, okay, I get it. I can do this. I’m a warrior. I’ll do whatever I have to, and we’ll somehow get through it. Tools will be provided. Help will arrive.

You may not know why there’s a zombie apocalypse, but you still have to deal with it. There’s no time to ask why; you just have to keep stabbing.

(This was supposed to go on my other blog Beautiful Detour, about Lilly and spina bifida, but my scatterbrain put it here instead. Enjoy!)