Review: Feeding the Dragon by Sharon Washington

Feeding the Dragon by Sharon WashingtonFeeding the Dragon by Sharon Washington

Series: None

Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir

Setting: New York City

Source: Audiobook, (Sep 2018 Free Audible Original Member Benefit)

Narrator: Sharon Washington (1 hour, 18 minutes)

Publishing Date: 2018

Synopsis: Sharon Washington’s autobiographical one-woman play, Feeding the Dragon, delighted audiences off-Broadway and is now available exclusively on Audible. The one-act play invites listeners into Sharon’s unorthodox childhood, growing up in an apartment on the top floor of the St. Agnes Branch of the New York Public Library, where her father served as the building’s custodian. A love of literature and boundless imagination helped the playwright as a young woman persevere over dragons of all forms.

Directed by Maria Mileaf, Feeding the Dragon premiered at City Theatre in Pittsburgh and was subsequently produced by Hartford Stage and Primary Stages.

My thoughts

This is a short “Only from Audible” book that I received free on Audible since I’m a member. (This is a fairly new membership perk—members get to choose two Audible exclusives free from six Audible books each month.)

Her family lived on top floor of a New York Public Library!

This book was only 1 hour, 18 minutes long, but it was originally a Broadway play done by the author and narrator Sharon Washington. She talks mostly about the years she and her family lived on the top floor of a New York Public library. When I read that synopsis I knew I had to listen! I loved hearing how she spent time in the library when it was closed looking at and reading books as well as using her imagination to act out scenes. Since she became an actress as an adult I’m sure her years living at the library contributed to that.

Feeding the Dragon

However, there are lots of other parts to her story, too. The reason her family was able to live at the library was that her father had to take care of and fix problems at the library. His main job was to never let the coal-burning furnace go out. That is where the name of the story comes from. When she was a child she imagined the furnace was a fire-breathing dragon! She and her family had other dragons to deal with, too.

More to the story than the library

Sharon was lucky to go to a private school and sounds like she got a great education, but her story isn’t all light and happy. She is African-American and her parents explained the facts of life to her early. Not only is she African-American, but she also doesn’t come from a wealthy family. They made sure very early that she understood that.

She also learns the hard way that her father was a recovering alcoholic. That was very devastating to her—especially since she idolized her father. One morning she and her mother wake up and realize the coal-burning furnace is out and that her father isn’t in the building. Sharon and her mother must do the back breaking work to get the furnace working again because they know that’s the only reason their family gets to live at the library.

When she and her dad take a road trip to visit his family in the South, she begins to understand him better. During the road trip he doesn’t want to stop very often even when she needs to use a restroom at a service station. She finally realizes he’s afraid to stop because he’s African-American and the service station owner is probably white. She meets her grandma and her dad’s aunts, uncles and cousins for the first time. After that visit she understands her dad better and is able to see him more realistically.

So glad I listened to this story

I really like this story and am so glad I listened to it. If I had seen this story for sale at Audible I might not have bought. I’m glad Audible is offering some stories for free each month. I try genres and stories I might not otherwise.

I’m glad Sharon Washington narrated this story. That made the story more real to me.  Since I’m not African-American and don’t know too many people who are I gained a little more knowledge about how different my life in America is.

My Rating: B+

Narrator Rating: B+

Have you read (listened to) this book? It would have been fun to see the Off-Broadway play!

Waiting on Wednesday: March 1

I am participating in Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives me a chance to show the books I’m looking forward to in the next few months.

Check out Breaking the Spine for more information.

………………………..

murder-between-the-lines-by-radha-vatsalMurder Between the Lines

by Radha Vatsal

Series: Kitty Weeks Mystery #2

Genre: Historical Mystery

Publication date: May 2

Synopsis: Intrepid journalist Kitty Weeks returns to unearth a murderous conspiracy in this WWI saga

In the second book in the acclaimed Kitty Weeks Mystery series, Kitty is tasked with writing a story about Westfield Hall, a prestigious girls’ boarding school. Tragedy strikes when a student named Elspeth is found frozen to death in Central Park. The doctors proclaim that the girl’s sleepwalking was the cause, but Kitty isn’t so sure.

Determined to uncover the truth, Kitty must investigate a more chilling scenario—a murder that may involve Elspeth’s scientist father and a new invention by Thomas Edison.

For fans of Susan Elia MacNeal and Jacqueline Winspear, Murder Between the Lines is a rich and spirited novel with irresistible charm, combining true historical events with a thrilling mystery.

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The reasons this book appeals to me:
  • I read the first book in the series and really enjoyed it. Kitty is an interesting character. She’s a journalist trying to be an investigative reporter–hard to do for a woman in this time period.
  • Such an interesting and important time in history–during WWIl. Lots of stories can come from this era.
  • Beautiful cover!

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Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace

envy-of-angels-by-matt-wallce“Envy of Angels” by Matt Wallace
Series: Sin du Jour #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy novella
Setting: New York City
Published by Tor.com, 2015
E-book, purchased
225 pages
Grade: B-
Synopsis: In New York, eating out can be hell.

Everyone loves a well-catered event, and the supernatural community is no different, but where do demons go to satisfy their culinary cravings?

Welcome to Sin du Jour – where devils on horseback are the clients, not the dish.

“Most important rule of working here,” he tells her. “Just when you think you’ve got a handle on how fucking sick the universe’s sense of humor is, it goes and tells you an even dirtier joke.”

and

At some point the ground beneath their feet disappears and all four of them are slipping through.

The entire world has become a child’s playpen.

There’s no bottom.

Initial impressions

  • What a fun, strange book!

The story

  • Lena and Darren are unemployed cooks, because they’re blackballed in NYC.
  • They have to find something soon or they’re going to have to go outside of NYC.
  • They get an opportunity to work for at least a week with an iconic chef.
  • Sin du Jour is a private club that caters to demons. Lena and Darren don’t know demons exist or anything about Sin du Jour before they start working, but they find out!

Pluses

  • It’s ironic and satiric and even silly sometimes. Just a lot of fun!
  • This was a little like watching a reality TV cooking show–maybe Hell’s Kitchen–if there were demons!
  • Funny, but also some horror vibes to the story as I wasn’t sure exactly what was going to happen.
  • Written in present tense–gives an immediacy to the story as though it’s happening right now. Also the story is told with detachment toward the characters. I didn’t feel very close to them so I felt every character was in danger. That really works for this story.

Minuses

  • There’s not a lot of world building. I hope there’s more world building in the next book, because this world has lots of promise.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  • The second novella was published in January and the third one is coming out later this month.
  •  Since 2015 Tor.com has been publishing novellas from a number of authors. I really like that they are doing this. I can try new authors and read authors I already like in a shorter version which means I can read more new fiction!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Reading Challenges

  • 2016 Goodreads Challenge
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy Bingo Reading Challenge–hosted by the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog– Sci Fi Fantasy Humor

Sunday Post: Jan 10

Sunday-Post

This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Last Week–home and blog

New York City

A short week, since we leave Thursday evening to start our trip to NYC. I’m writing this before the trip to NYC so I can schedule my Sunday Post. We’re planning to go to the theater on Saturday night and to do a lot of stuff with our son the rest of the time. Can’t wait!

I’ve been busy getting some things done around the house as well as on my blog. Thursday has come much too fast!

Television

A bit of TV watching this week. I don’t remember any particular shows! Check out the link below to the Tor.com site about 10 genre shows premiering in January.

The blog

I’m still working on some end-of-year posts as well as posts for the new year. I was working on my 2015 challenge post (talking about how I did with my challenges last year) when I realized I hadn’t written sign-up posts or even really decided what challenges I want to do this year.

So I spent the rest of the blog time this week getting sign-up posts completed and linking them to the host blogs. I also did a post showing all the challenges I’m taking part in on one post with my goals for each challenge. Then I completed pages for each challenge where I will be keeping track of the books I read for that challenge.

The challenge I’m most excited about is the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Bingo Book Challenge–mainly because the bingo card is so awesome! (The bingo card was created by Greg Lindahl and I found the challenge on the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.)

Blog posts

What I’m reading

Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy 

What I read last week

Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

New–Books, E-books, NetGalley, Audiobooks–purchased or free or from library

NetGalley

  • None

Library books

  • None

E-books

Audiobooks

  • None

Around the Internet

agentcarter-top
New season of Agent Carter starts in January

From Tor.com — “Don’t Miss These Ten Genre Shows Premiering in January”

Next Week–home & blog

We get home on Sunday night and then have another short week as we are heading to Iowa for the Martin Luther King three-day weekend.

We have a very busy year ahead of us. My husband has decided to take early retirement later this year and we are planning to move to Iowa. This next weekend house hunting.

Blog posts

  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • 2015 reading challenges–how’d I do?
  • Sunday Post

What did you do last week? What books did you collect? What are you planning?

Sunday Post Sep 20

Sunday-PostThe Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

Last Week

Home & blog

The weather was wonderful this week. It’s still dry, but the humidity and temperatures are lower. Some leaves have started to change around here, but I think it’s more that it’s dry than the time of year.

Football and The Great British Baking Show are filling up Sundays for us. The Green Bay Packers are our favorite team and since they were playing The Chicago Bears (our favorite rivalry) and the game wasn’t shown in our area we found a sports bar with one TV showing The Packers and The Bears! A good game since Green Bay won!

I have mixed feelings about football. I’ve watched it since I was a child and it brings back childhood memories of my parents and their love of the game. And the stories of my father as a quarterback on his high school team. But I also read and hear the stories of so many football players who suffer the effects of concussions and other injuries. And it just seems wrong to enjoy. So a quandary.

We also started watching Dancing With the Stars this week. It is the other reality show we watch. My husband loves to dance and has roped me into liking the show, too!

We are heading to NYC early Saturday morning by train to see our son and his girlfriend. His birthday was last week and her birthday is this next week so we want to celebrate both birthdays. I’ve baked a cake which we will carry with us on the train! We are also seeing at least one play. Lots of fun!

Blog posts

Books

What I’m reading

The Bloodforged by Erin Lindsey

Tilt-A-Whirl by Chris Grabenstein (audiobook)

What I read last week

The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley (audiobook)

New–Books, E-books, NetGalley, Audiobooks–purchased or free or from library

NetGalley

None

Library books

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

E-books

The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr

Audiobooks

Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

Next Week

Home & blog

We get home early Monday morning from New York so I probably won’t link my Sunday Post with Kimba’s until after that. I imagine I will play catch up all week!

Blog Posts

  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Review: The Last Colony by John Scalzi
  • Review: Sideswiped by Kim Harrison
  • Sunday Post

What did you do last week? What books did you collect? What are you planning?