Author Archives: Robin

About Robin

I’m a wife, mother, daughter, grandma, retired teacher, gardener, knitter, and passionate reader. I live near Portland, Oregon, USA.

First Audiobook

the-scarlet-pimpernel

The very first audiobook I ever listened to was The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy. That was about 35 years ago but I still remember the experience well. The book was on cassette tapes borrowed from the library and it was really a lot of fun to listen to and it sparked a longtime love of listening to books. I borrowed a lot of books on tape from the library, and then a few years later, I became a member of Recorded Books — an excellent company for producing books on tape — and ordered my audiobooks by mail. I listened to a lot of books that way. Now it is so easy to have an Audible membership and simply download a book to my phone. I do love to listen to all kinds of books!

What was the first audiobook you listened to?

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Anais Nin

anais-nin

When I was younger I read all of Anais Nin‘s diaries and many of her other works. They were fascinating! I took many notes, copying out different quotes from her insightful and eloquent ruminations. There was so many things she said that put into words for me my own experiences or inner thoughts. She was born on this day in 1903. I celebrate her today and the influence she had on me as a young woman.

“There are books which we read early in life, which sink into our consciousness and seem to disappear without leaving a trace. And then one day we find, in some summing-up of our life and put attitudes towards experience, that their influence has been enormous.”
― Anaïs Nin, In Favor of the Sensitive Man and Other Essays

the-diary-of-anais-nin

Death Without Company

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This afternoon I finished listening to the audiobook version of the 2nd book in the Walt Longmire series.  Death Without Company, by Craig Johnson, was another story that keeps you reading/listening without wanting to take breaks. Walt Longmire, sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, is just a decent human being and a fine investigator. There’s a great cast of characters that help him solve the mysteries that come his way — his daughter, Cady; his lifelong friend, Henry Standing Bear; his deputies, Vic (Victoria) and Ferg; and his ever patient secretary, Ruby. They are all devoted to their boss.

I love it when I have an entire series to look forward to reading!  And if you haven’t seen the Longmire TV series, you should treat yourself and watch it. Hubby and I enjoyed it very much, and felt they did a great job of casting the characters and staying true to the books. Oh yes, I must admit that I’ve got a big crush on the character of Walt Longmire in both the books and the TV series!

Actor Robert Taylor as Walt Longmire...

Actor Robert Taylor as Walt Longmire…

 

Wallace Stegner’s Typewriter

In celebration of Wallace Stegner‘s birthday today, I share this photograph I took of his typewriter. It’s on display in the Special Collections section of the University of Utah library in Salt Lake City.  Although this isn’t a great photo, I do love seeing desks or tools used by wonderful writers!

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Novels by Wallace Stegner:
  • Remembering Laughter (1937)
  • The Potter’s House (1938)
  • On a Darkling Plain (1940)
  • Fire and Ice (1941)
  • The Big Rock Candy Mountain (1943), semi-autobiographical
  • Second Growth (1947)
  • The Preacher and the Slave (1950), reissued as Joe Hill: A Biographical Novel
  • A Shooting Star (1961)
  • All the Little Live Things (1967)
  • Joe Hill: A Biographical Novel (1969)
  • Angle of Repose (1971), winner of the Pulitzer Prize
  • The Spectator Bird (1976), winner of the National Book Award
  • Recapitulation (1979)
  • Crossing to Safety (1987)

Heaven on Earth

friday-nights

Another painting by one of my favorite artists: Deborah DeWit. This one is called “Friday Nights.”

“For paradise in the world to come is uncertain, but there is indeed a heaven on earth, a heaven which we inhabit when we read a good book.”

~ Christopher Morley, The Haunted Bookshop

Happy weekend reading, friends!

The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid's TaleOn finishing The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the only thing I could say at first was “Wow!”  It is quite a story, so very well written, so very powerful, and so very sobering…I think it will stay with me for a long, long time.

Set in a dystopian future, in what these days seems chillingly like the near future, women have lost all rights. “Handmaids” are the only women who are still able to bear children, and their existence is completely dependent on being successful in producing a child…a child that another woman of a higher status will raise.

The story is an interesting exploration of the lives of women in a totalitarian regime.  It is a profound immersion into the “What Ifs” we must all ask ourselves about our society. I found it sad, disturbing, and fascinating, but not without hope!  I couldn’t put it down.

I’ve been thinking about it since I finished it a few days ago and realized that I am looking at things differently now. This is a perspective-changing book, and during this tumultuous time in US history, I think it is an important book for exactly that reason. It was written in 1985, and I was aware of it but until last week was too intimidated to read it. However, I’ve been so concerned about the direction our society is taking these days and the difficult challenges we all face, that I felt that instead of “escaping” (my usual response to overwhelming  news), I needed to tackle some of these ideas head on. I’m glad I finally found the courage to do so.