Why Do You Need An Editor, Anyway?

As an author, you want to produce the best book you can. An intriguing plot, engaging characters, interesting dialogue, great writing – they all add up to a good book. But do they, without the proper editing your book needs to be error-free, or at least nearly so? And can you do professional-grade editing yourself?

I read once that your book is “ready” when you’ve gone through it so many times that you’re sick of it. At this point you’re not doing your manuscript any good; it’s time to hand it off to someone with fresh eyes. You are no longer seeing what’s really in your manuscript, you’re seeing what you THINK is in your manuscript. You’ve lost the ability to see that extra word or that the words are out of order or that you use too many commas in your writing. You need a second pair of eyes. But does this pair of eyes need to belong to a paid editor?

If you have outstanding beta readers and belong to an engaged writing critique group, then maybe, MAYBE, you can get by without a professional edit. But these beta readers and critiquers must be excellent writers and avid readers. They have to be willing and able to tell you in the clearest, most specific words possible that your writing needs work. They need to be able to spot plot holes. They need to ask the “what if?” questions that you didn’t think to ask yourself. And they need to be able to spot all of your grammar errors, misspelled words, punctuation errors, and so on. And you’re expecting all of this from them without paying them. They have to balance your project with their paying jobs and their own writing, so don’t be surprised if they can’t do all of this for you, even if they do have the skills. These volunteers can be a part of getting your book ready to publish, even if you have an editor, because you should get valuable feedback from them. But don’t expect them, alone, to fix your book’s problems for you.

So what if you can’t afford to pay an editor? Can you afford to publish your book at all? Can you do so with a minimum of small errors and no large errors? The cost of NOT hiring a good editor could be huge. If readers put your book down because they are tired of wading through the mistakes, you’ve lost a reader, not only of this book but probably of future books. They will tell their friends and family to save their money and not buy your book(s). They may leave negative reviews that lead to lost sales. You’ve disrespected your readers and produced an inferior book. Why?

I read once that you should do what you do best and outsource the rest. So what do you do best? Write, hopefully. Marketing? Producing content for your website, perhaps. Leave the rest to the professionals.

One way to save money on an editor is to self-edit to the best of your ability. Use the spelling and grammar check in your writing software. You may be able to learn about self-editing your manuscript from a book or video. Use suggestions from your beta readers and critique group to improve your book. This will decrease the number of errors the editor must find and lower the price of the edit.

How do you find a good editor? Do your research. Get recommendations from other writers who like their editors. Read the books they had the editor refine so you can see how well-edited their books are. If the editors have reviews, read the reviews to be sure they do what you expect an editor to do.

I found my editor on a platform called Reedsy. Reedsy gives you access to a number of professionals including editors, designers, marketers, ghostwriters, publicists, and website developers. You choose the type of service you’re looking for, your book’s genre, and the language it’s written in, and the search engine pulls up the professionals they have available to work on your book. I just ran a search for an editorial assessment in science fiction written in US English and it pulled up 72 editors. These editors have profiles and reviews and response rates. You would then research the editors by reviewing their profiles and personal websites, then choose five you’d like to get bids from, send them some information about yourself and your book and a writing sample, and wait for the quotes to come in. The editors I selected submitted their quotes quickly and were clear about the services they would provide. It made choosing an editor easy and I loved the process!

I chose my editor, Bryony Sutherland, from the five I’d selected based on three things:

  1. Cost
  2. Her enthusiasm for my book
  3. Her additional ability to ghostwrite

Bryony is amazing! Her price is reasonable, and I know that because I received four other quotes. In editing my book, VIVOS, she raised questions that my first editor (who I wasn’t happy with) did not. She pointed out plot holes that I, and my first editor, had overlooked. She gave me another viewpoint which helped me come up with ideas I hadn’t thought of before. I became a better writer and editor just by working with her. She works with my genre, so she helped me write for my target audience. Every step of the way we collaborated to make VIVOS the best it could be. And she explained her reasons for recommending changes so that I had the information I needed to decide whether that change was best for my book. 99 times out of 100 I followed her suggestions. She also helped me write my query letter and synopsis. I trust her judgment and value her insight. When I look back on the draft I sent to Bryony, I see how far VIVOS has come by working with her.

Deciding whether to hire an editor is a personal decision, but it’s also a professional one. Give your book the best chance it can have and invest in the services you need to make it your best book. Maybe that includes hiring a professional editor.


Participating in Twitter Pitch Contests

I participated in #SFFpit (a pitch contest for science fiction and fantasy books) on January 30th. Twitter pitch contests happen on certain dates during a specified time window and allow for tweets every hour or two. For a list of upcoming Twitter pitch contests, check this great calendar out:


All of the pitch contests allow for only specific genres of manuscripts. #PitMad is one that’s open to all types of books. For all of the contests you must have an unpublished, complete, full-length book to pitch. You’ll want to have a query letter template and synopsis ready to go.

January 30th’s #SFFpit allowed authors to use all 280 characters for crafting their pitches. Some contests still allow for only 140 characters, Twitter’s old character limit. It’s important to check out the complete contest rules before participating in any pitch contest. You’ll be able to find those using the hashtags when it gets closer to time for the contests. #SFFpit is hosted by Dan Koboldt, and #PitMad is hosted by Brenda Drake, so check out their profiles and follow them. They are super helpful!

You’ve got 140 or 280 characters for your pitch, and it has to include a lot of information. You need to introduce your main character. Using a description is better than using a name, as the name doesn’t give the agent/editor much to go on, but a description, such as “bipolar ninja,” paints a picture. Include the character’s goal or conflict. Also, tell the agents/editors what the obstacles are to the character achieving the goal or overcoming the conflict. Finally, what are the stakes if the character fails? Be specific about the stakes. “Or the world will never be the same” doesn’t tell an agent/editor as much as “or her family will die.”

Be sure to use active verbs and show off your writing skills as best you can within your pitch. Pitching is not the time for emojis, Twitter abbreviations, or ALL CAPS. Avoid using questions. Asking questions in your pitch weakens it since the answer is always “yes.”

In addition to your pitch, you have to include the hashtag, a genre tag, and an age group tag. This last #SFFpit also allowed us to include a subgenre tag and the following additional tags:

  • #POC = People of Color
  • #OWN = OwnVoices
  • #LGBT
  • #IRMC = Interracial/Multicultural

My tags for this #SFFpit were: #SFFpit #DS #SFT #A (Adult Dystopian Sci-fi Thriller)

But all of your tags have to fit in your tweet, plus your pitch, so you have to choose your words carefully. In addition, Twitter doesn’t let you post identical pitches, so you need to prepare a few, and then you can vary them by moving the tags around. For #SFFpit I did 5 different pitches and did 2 different variables of each pitch, for a total of 10 tweets – one per hour. I set my tweets up on Hootsuite so I didn’t have to manually send a tweet out every hour. There are other social media scheduling tools out there too:


Prior to the contest, agents and editors will usually send out a tweet using the contest’s hashtag telling you what they want you to send them if they “favorite” your tweet. If not, check out their website and follow the submissions guidelines you find there. Favorites, likes, hearts – whatever you choose to call them – should come only from participating agents and editors. If you would like to support an author or really like someone’s pitch, you can retweet that pitch so it has a better chance of being seen.

Agents and editors may “like” your pitch late that evening or the next day, so it’s not necessarily over when the contest ends. If you receive a “heart” on one of your pitches, be sure and research the agent/editor. You’re not obligated to send your materials to them; it’s merely an invitation to do so.

On January 30th I had several of my pitches retweeted by supportive tweeps, and I had one “favorite” by an editor. I consider both to be signs of success. I thanked my supporters and the host of the contest. I researched the editor and felt good about what I found, so I sent VIVOS and the other requested materials off the next day. The editor very kindly sent an email acknowledging that he’d received my submittal. I love it when they do that!

If you have an unpublished, complete manuscript I encourage you to participate in an upcoming Twitter pitch contest. It’s good practice for creating short pitches. You get to interact with other authors. You may have the opportunity to send your work off to an agent or editor, and it’s not unsolicited – you’ve been invited to send it in. It’s one more avenue on the journey to publication. There have been some Twitter pitch contest success stories, authors who have become published because they put in the time and effort to enter a Twitter pitch contest. You could be next!


Book Review: The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman

This is the book’s description from Goodreads: “Originally serialized in the New York Times, The Girl in the Green Raincoat is now in book form for the very first time—a masterful thriller in the Alfred Hitchcock mode that places a very pregnant, homebound Tess in the center of a murderous puzzle that could cost her her life and the life of her unborn child.”

As you know if you read last week’s blog post, I wasn’t particularly impressed with this author’s Wilde Lake; everything about it, to me, was mediocre. I picked up The Girl in the Green Raincoat when I chose Wilde Lake because it’s a 158-page novelette that I knew would be a quick read. I’m heading into a busy time and won’t be able to read as much, so I’m going to be reading shorter works for the next couple of months.

I really enjoyed this clever book. It’s in the same vein as Rear Window and The Daughter of Time. It combines suspense and humor to tell a Hitchcockian-style mystery. Although the humor wasn’t blow-milk-out-your-nose funny, it was smile-and-chuckle funny, while still maintaining the suspense that’s necessary for a good mystery.

What I found most impressive about this story is that it was originally serialized, which, from my past experience, doesn’t always lend itself to a good book. The previously serialized works I’ve read in the past have included repetitive descriptions of characters and settings and have included recaps of what happened earlier in the book. The author was anticipating that the reader would, necessarily, be putting down the book between chapters and then catching up again next week. While that may work when the story is serialized, the repetition and recaps make me lose interest when I’m reading a book. Although Ms. Lippman’s chapters didn’t stand alone, they ended in a place that I was comfortable with, then picked up in media res without a need for explanations of what had happened in earlier chapters.

Each chapter ended with, if not a cliffhanger, something interesting enough to make me want to continue reading. The engaging narration made for a smooth read. The prose was simple enough to be a quick read but was also descriptive, good writing.

Tess Monaghan, the protagonist, is well-developed. She’s smart, funny, stubborn, at times morose with low self-esteem, at times very sure of herself. She’s relatable, and I felt invested in the outcome of her story. I got attached to her and understood her wants and needs. I felt for her. I liked her story.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for any lover of mysteries.


Book Review: Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman

This is Goodreads’ description of the book: “The bestselling author of the acclaimed standalones After I’m Gone, I’d Know You Anywhere, and What the Dead Know, challenges our notions of memory, loyalty, responsibility, and justice in this evocative and psychologically complex story about a long-ago death that still haunts a family.

Luisa “Lu” Brant is the newly elected—and first female—state’s attorney of Howard County, Maryland, a job in which her widower father famously served. Fiercely intelligent and ambitious, she sees an opportunity to make her name by trying a mentally disturbed drifter accused of beating a woman to death in her home. It’s not the kind of case that makes headlines, but peaceful Howard county doesn’t see many homicides.

As Lu prepares for the trial, the case dredges up painful memories, reminding her small but tight-knit family of the night when her brother, AJ, saved his best friend at the cost of another man’s life. Only eighteen, AJ was cleared by a grand jury. Now, Lu wonders if the events of 1980 happened as she remembers them. What details might have been withheld from her when she was a child?

The more she learns about the case, the more questions arise. What does it mean to be a man or woman of one’s times? Why do we ask our heroes of the past to conform to the present’s standards? Is that fair? Is it right? Propelled into the past, she discovers that the legal system, the bedrock of her entire life, does not have all the answers. Lu realizes that even if she could learn the whole truth, she probably wouldn’t want to.”

I don’t really know what to say about his book. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. I had high expectations for this book because I’d heard how wonderful Ms. Lippman’s writing is, but it seemed lackluster to me. It didn’t make me feel any emotions, it didn’t evoke clear images of a setting or the characters. Although I never considered not finishing the book, I didn’t look forward to reading the next passage the way I like to.

The story moves between Lu Brant’s memories of her childhood and the present day. I had a hard time knowing what the two different viewpoints had to do with each other, and it wasn’t until near the end that it was truly clear that they were related. Many of the details of her childhood weren’t important to the plot. There were no thrills, and the twists, if you’d call them that, weren’t at all shocking. The story moves very slowly and doesn’t advance the plot until near the end, and by then I didn’t really care what happened. I wasn’t that invested in the characters to care.

Since it wasn’t poorly written but didn’t trip my trigger, I’ll rate this book 3 out of 5 stars. Although I wouldn’t recommend it to my friends, I wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading it. I will read another of her books and see if her writing shines more in that one.

Book Review: The Witch Elm by Tana French


This is the book description from Goodreads:

“Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life: he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of when we no longer know who we are.”

I’ve read Tana French before, In The Woods, so I knew I was in for a good read. She has an admirable vocabulary that she uses deftly, tossing in seemingly random descriptions of even the most unimportant detail, thus painting a vivid picture that pulls you into the story. I don’t feel bogged down by these details – I think they add to the story. The narrator in The Witch Elm, Toby, tells his story in a conversational tone that makes you feel like you know him. But you don’t. Neither does he.

I could see the scenes as if they were in constant motion, actively creating the story. I sometimes forgot that I was reading a book: letters and spaces on a piece of paper. The story was alive. It was like I could see and hear the guys talking in the booth next to me. She has the ability to make your mouth water and to make you think you can smell the dirty streets of Dublin around you.

And the tension. Her beautiful imagery lulled me into a dreamlike state, where everything was just happening and I was an observer until suddenly something would go wrong in the story, so abruptly that it was shocking. The twists made me slightly dizzy as if my blood sugar had plummeted. She builds up to the twists so that you know they’re coming and dread the unknown, and of course, you can’t stop reading until you have the answer.

Her writing is refreshing like listening to someone speaking without a stutter or stammer when everyone else is doing so, and it’s easy to read quickly because it flows. She’s sparse with punctuation, so the sentences aren’t choppy, except when she writes short sentences and fragments to up the tension. She uses long stream-of-conscious sentences that keep the long narrative passages moving. I feel like I don’t have to put any effort into reading her writing. It’s like remembering something I already know.

One thing that I noticed throughout The Witch Elm is that she uses references to light in a way that an artist or photographer might, creating glare or casting shadows. Everything is crystal clear because it’s so well described. So many minor details make it real, such as the detective shaking a pen and scribbling with it before beginning to write down an interview answer, or a doctor’s smile indicating how much time he’d give his attention to them.

Her use of humor is understated, but sometimes she’d throw something in that made me almost burst out in laughter, and I felt a bit naughty because the subject itself was not funny. But it gave me a short relief from the subtle, creeping tension that had built up. Sometimes I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I did both at different times throughout reading this novel. The book included those emotions I love to experience when I read.

When researching what a witch elm was, I found this, which I think you’ll enjoy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_put_Bella_in_the_Wych_Elm%3F

But The Witch Elm isn’t the book I had hoped it would be, in spite of all of these accolades. I felt the plot slowed down in the middle, perhaps due to too much dialogue. There was one plot point that was predictable, and I hoped she wouldn’t go there before I got to the reveal, but she did. It’s been done too many times before. The predictability in this one section disappointed me.

And although I loved the overall plot, except for the point mentioned above, there were sections of the book, starting somewhere in the middle, where the plot was dribbled out and I felt like it took too long to get to the next plot point. The tension was gone by the time I reached that point. It felt like the slow reveal, at times, was too slow.

I have a friend who reads mainly mysteries and crime thrillers, and although he likes Ms. French’s plots, he doesn’t get lost in the writing the way I do. He does get bogged down in the details. He just wants the facts without all of the language that pulls me in. He, perhaps, wouldn’t have even finished the book because of the slow part that started in the middle of the book.

I am giving this book 4 out of 5 stars, and because of my friend, I’m recommending it to adults who love a good mystery or crime thriller and don’t mind, or in fact, love, that it’s made up of beautiful language and lucid description.

If you liked this review, please follow my blog. You can find me on Twitter @ecclespenor

Thanks for reading.


Book Review: My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

This is the book’s description from Goodreads:

“Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate — a life and a role that she has never challenged… until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister—and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.”

From the opening of the book I was hooked and had a difficult time putting it down, although at times it was difficult to read because of all of the physical and emotional suffering experienced by the characters. After reading the prologue, I had that feeling I get when I begin a book or movie and know instantly that I’m going to love it – it always sends a tickle down my spine and sometimes brings tears to my eyes. And this book did not let me down.

In spite of the many difficult medical terms, the book was an easy read, and I didn’t want to miss one word of its beautifully written prose. When I say easy, I mean mentally, but not emotionally. It was a tearjerker early on.

The characters, who each told the story from their own viewpoint, were painfully human. I liked that the story was written from all of the main character’s viewpoints, which made for a more well-rounded story. Everything that happens to us, everything we do, is seen much differently by others. Although I could usually tell which character I was reading simply by their voices, there were a couple of times that characters sounded too much alike and I had to look back and see who was speaking. Otherwise, the various points of view were artfully done. At times, the teenagers seemed to speak too eloquently, at least compared to the teenagers I know, and it reminded me that these weren’t characters speaking, but an author writing a story. But mostly I was lost in this story’s world.

This book contained a couple of twists that took my breath away. They were so perfectly orchestrated as part of the plot that I didn’t see them coming. There was a lot of backstory, as the author brought us from the time of the onset of Kate’s illness through where we’d leave off with these characters years later, but it wasn’t an information dump. The story moves between different times and viewpoints seamlessly.

This book made me FEEL, which is what I must have from a book or movie to like it. In fact, in spite of the horror these characters were going through, it made me feel that I had missed out, not having had children myself. The love between the characters was palpable, and I felt that I didn’t experience all of the love I could have since I didn’t have children – both love given and love received. So the book made me think too, and made me relate my story to the character’s stories, something else that makes me like a book. It made me examine my life.

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for adults and young adults.

VIVOS update

VIVOS is my first novel, which I’m trying to get published traditionally. It compares most closely to The Handmaid’s Tale. I started writing it in April of 2014, and it’s been quite a journey. Now it’s a completely different book from the one I first envisioned, the one I sent to my beta readers.

I recently revised the last one-third of my manuscript due to a revise-and-resubmit request from a publisher who wrote me a passionate and detailed email suggesting ways to improve that part of the book. I shared the publisher’s response with my editor, and she said it was the most positive rejection letter she’d ever seen. I read VIVOS with that email in mind and agreed that I could make VIVOS better. What was once a New Adult Dystopian novel has matured into an Adult Dystopian Thriller novel with an exhilarating ending. Shea Donovan, the protagonist, has a more satisfying character arc. The story is darker and more suspenseful. Here’s a brief description of my novel:

“VIVOS takes current world issues and fast-forwards them to the year 2034. Anti-heroine, Shea Donovan, a snarky twenty-two-year-old with bipolar disorder, tells her dark story with self-effacing irony and evolving cognizance.

Genetic disease and apocalyptic weather drive Shea and her family underground, where twelve senior men, called the Elders, run Vivos, a religious shelter for the Elite. Believing that life aboveground has been extinguished, the Donovans settle into a spartan existence characterized by surveillance and increasing punishments. Soon the Elders announce that God has commanded them to repopulate the earth by breeding with all fertile females age sixteen and above. When the time for Shea’s breeding ceremony arrives, she panics and blacks out. She awakens in the desert brutalized and alone. Battling bipolar symptoms and unsure of the distinction between reality and illusion, Shea’s quest for survival and saving her family clashes with her deep-seated desire for revenge.”

I have been working hard to get VIVOS published. I have sent out 72 queries to agents and publishers, resulting in six full manuscript requests. Three of those requests were for the old VIVOS, and it was rejected by all three. Three of those requests are recent and are all from publishers. They are for the new VIVOS, which is a much better book. I am encouraged by the recent interest in my novel.

Book Review: Spilled Blood by Brian Freeman

This is the description of the book I found on Goodreads:

“A taut thriller about two rural Minnesota towns locked in a deadly feud–and a teenage girl caught in the crossfire. Linked by the Spirit River, the two towns couldn’t be more different: in affluent Barron, a powerful and secretive scientific research corporation enriches its residents, while downriver in blue-collar St. Croix, victims of that company’s carcinogenic waste struggle to survive. The bad blood between the communities escalates into open warfare when the beautiful Ashlynn, daughter of the corporation’s president, is found shot dead–and a St. Croix girl, Olivia Hawk, is accused of the crime. Reluctantly, Olivia’s mother summons her estranged husband Christopher, a Minneapolis lawyer, to come defend his daughter. As Christopher struggles to unravel the mystery of Ashlynn’s murder and save his own daughter, he uncovers some ugly truths that endanger the residents of both towns. And looming over everything are the chilling, apocalyptic threats from a murderous psychopath known only as “Aquarius.””

This story was good – there was a lot going on and it tied up all the loose ends and provided a satisfying, although unbelievable ending. It has twists and thrills as I expected from what I’d heard about the book. I did not guess who the killer was, or who Aquarius was. But it came across as flat and one-dimensional. There wasn’t enough emotion to make me care about the characters, although there were ample opportunities for emotion: a murdered teenager, characters dead or dying from cancer, a man trying to save his daughter from prison. Emotions were mentioned, but the author was telling us about the emotions rather than showing us the emotions. I like a story that makes me feel something, and this story fell short. I also found some portions boring due to dialogue running on for several pages, or the formulaic descriptions given of each person when they were introduced to the reader. I was aware of the author when I read this book, instead of getting lost in the story. I think this may be a great read for a reader who just wants the facts of a story without the emotions, however.

I give Spilled Blood by Brian Freeman 3 out of 5 stars. I do plan to read another one of his books in the future.

41-year love affair with a book


“I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.” – C.S. Lewis

I have a confession to make: I’ve been in love with Gone With The Wind, the novel, for 41 years – ever since my mother gave it to me when I was 13. I’ve read it every year for 41 years, having just completed it a few days ago. And after this reading, I’ve decided that it won’t be an annual ritual. I will give this beloved book, with the detached cover, the packing tape binding, and the well-thumbed pages, a rest. It’s time.

It may seem ridiculous to some to read a book 41 times. Why did I do it?

  1. It gave me comfort. As a gift from a mother who was only marginally in my life, shortly after my dad died at the young age of 46, it made me feel that I had a connection with her that I otherwise did not have. Also, having read it so many times, I could read it even when anxiety had overtaken my thoughts, when understanding an unfamiliar book would have been impossible. It became like a welcome friend.
  2. I love the story, the characters, the writing, the setting. I simply adore the book.
  3. As a novel writer, I love that Margaret Mitchell was able to write such a long and magnificent book without the benefit of a word processor or writing software such as Scrivener. I love that she completed her manuscript in only three years and that she was rejected by 38 publishers before finding one who would publish her novel. It gives me the incentive to keep writing and to keep submitting VIVOS to publishers until one says “yes.”
  4. I always looked forward to “escaping” to the antebellum South each year, wondering what it would have been like to be a Southern belle from a cotton plantation. I find the Civil War fascinating and the story inspired my interest in it.

And why have I decided not to read Gone With The Wind every year anymore?

  1. There are so many great books out there that I want to read, and I’m getting behind on my TBR pile.
  2. I’ve decided to do book reviews, both as a part of my blog and to support fellow and sister writers by reviewing their books on Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble, so I have to be reading new books. Leaving reviews is a great way to help a writer. I hope other writers will give me the same support someday.
  3. I don’t write historical fiction, and I need to be reading what I’m writing, which is currently science fiction, and in the future, crime thrillers or murder mysteries, if all goes as planned.
  4. I recently celebrated my fifth wedding anniversary with my husband, Rob, who has completed my life in a way that hadn’t happened until I met him in 2013. I no longer need to revisit my “relationship” with my mother each year. I no longer need to rely on my relationship with the O’Haras, Hamiltons, and Wilkeses.
  5. As I’ve been reading some of the classics lately, I’m feeling dissatisfied with some of the dated references. Gone With The Wind, of course, has slavery, and Rhett Butler’s treatment of Scarlett at times was reprehensible. I’ve read some of the old murder mysteries that were written by men, and have been appalled at the way men treated women in these books: hitting them, touching them or otherwise being too familiar with them, calling them “doll” and “sweetheart” when they were neither. I’m not a big proponent of political correctness because I think it’s gone too far, but certain topics can be a turnoff – at which point I put the book down, I don’t ban it or burn it or tell others not to read it.

I’m entering a new chapter of my life. Will there be another book that I feel compelled to read more than once? There have been only a few books that I have read twice.

What books have you read more than once, and why?


Book Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

If you liked the movies The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, you will like this book. I Let You Go gave me the same surreal, unbalanced feeling that I felt while experiencing the movies, the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. It’s suspenseful and emotional and has some great plot twists. I think it was written for any adult, male or female.

One thing that stood out to me was the three separate points of view: first person; second person, which is so rarely used; and third person all being used in the same book, and used very well. I sometimes find it difficult to read a book that reverts between different points of view, but in this case, it added to the unease I felt while reading the book, to the off-balance feeling I was experiencing, which added to my enjoyment of the book.

I give I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for anyone who likes suspense thrillers.