Books, Bats, & Travel
I've been on a winning streak recently and have read three novels I really enjoyed.
The Book of Lost Saints by Daniel Jose Older
An epic novel about Cuban and Cuban Americans with a dual timeline, one contemporary and one from the time of the revolution, this novel follows a family through war, intrigue, and love. Best of all is a surprising and fantastical narrator and a twist ending.
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
Another enjoyable book, this one is written through multiple points-of-view, including one very unusual character. The novel follows the entertaining story of Tova, a lonely woman, Cameron, an unsettled young man, and the octopus who brings them together.
Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr
This is a book I picked up and then didn't put down again until I'd read the last page. An exciting, suspenseful novel about the hunt for a painting that disappeared during World War II and the investigator who is determined to get the story and the art.
In the last newsletter, I mentioned the writing conferences I was attending this fall. I've been to two so far, and here's a photo from one of them. It's wonderful to be surrounded by writer friends who are all on the same journey.
I'm also gearing up for NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month. Every year, thousands of people around the world try to write 50,000 words (about 200 pages) in one month. I've been successful the last four years, and already have my novel planned for this November.
A Travel Story
Belize: Spooky Bat Story
I was incredibly lucky to conduct my dissertation research in Belize, Central America. I lived in a family compound with two homes. I rented a room from the grandmother who lived upstairs in one of the houses. Her daughter lived across the yard in a different house.
A couple of weeks after I arrived, I became incredibly sick. I still don’t know what I had, but I'll never forget the night I spent somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, dreaming I was a spaceship trying to dock on planet Earth.
I eventually recovered but had another interesting night when I awoke to something scuttling about my room. I reached up and pulled the string on the lightbulb above my head, AND THERE WAS A BAT IN MY ROOM! He (she?) was at least as disoriented as I. I dashed for the door, screaming, while the bat lurched about the floor (who knew they did that?).
The grandmother came out of her room to see what the racket was, and I couldn’t remember the Spanish word for bat (she only spoke Spanish). So, I told her there was a “vampiro,” a vampire, in my room. She corrected me, said it was a “murcielago” and went into my room to find it. Fortunately, it had found the open window and escaped.
I kept the window open for the breeze, but I never slept quite as soundly again.