Books I Read in 2015

The end of the year is a time when we look back at what we’ve accomplished, as well as look forward to find our goals for the coming year. Last year, my goal was to read more nonfiction. Now, I realize that different people have different ideas of what qualifies as books, but I count all fiction and nonfiction and do not discriminate against any particular format. So while one of my friendly local libraries does not count graphic novels as “books” when it comes to reading contests, other libraries actually put “read a graphic novel” as one of the squares on their reading bingo cards (yes, that is a thing). I’m happy to say that I’ve more than reached my goal for 2015.

In fact, I discovered something odd. I tried something new this year, in that I put down reading many more books that didn’t engage my interest quickly enough for my taste. I don’t believe in forcing myself to read a bad or boring book when there are so many good books that I’ll never have the time to read, and even then I still reread my favorites! By deciding to do this, I gave myself permission to break out of my literary comfort zone because I didn’t feel guilty about not finishing a book that didn’t grab me. I also began experimenting with reading more than one book at a time, even though I was worried about dividing my attention between more than one storyline. And do you know what happened? I read more books this year than before! I discovered others that I might not have tried because they would have been too daunting, and some I even decided to read further and found out I liked them after all.

In other news, I’ve done a few other personal projects. I’ve helped edit a charity anthology, finished editing my 2012 Nanowrimo novel for submission to an agent (just need to finish that final bit of formatting), and contributed to a few other sites. I began recording readings for Librivox, which was another one of my resolutions from last year. If you are unfamiliar with Librivox they are a site, run by volunteers, that makes free public domain audiobooks available for download to the public. If you don’t want to read, you can also volunteer to do other things such as be a proof listener or organizer. It’s great!

As always, I rely heavily on my local libraries. Another library service I’ve used heavily this year is the Overdrive app for downloading digital library materials. It’s completely free. Just install the app onto your phone (at no cost), find your library (or in my case, libraries), type in your library card, and search their online database! It’s incredibly easy, and the downloads I didn’t buy were mostly checked out via this service. Another way I’ve discovered to consume your local libraries’ online content is via Hoopla. However, Hoopla also offers movies and television shows!

Since the list is longer this year, I’m simply going to write the titles of the books. I know there are plenty of people that have much longer lists, but I’m pretty happy with the literary content I’ve consumed this year, both for quality and quantity. Most of these were downloaded online, though a select few were physically checked out from the library. For your visual ease, I am color coding according to how I consumed the book.

Ebooks (novels, non fiction, & graphic novels): Red

Audiobooks: Blue

Physical books: Green

So without further ado:

 

  1. Unbound (Magic Ex Libris) by Jim C. Hines
  2. Engines of War (Doctor Who) by George Mann
  3. Afterlife with Archie: volume 1  (graphic novel)
  4. Marvel Civil War (graphic novel)
  5. Muse of Fire by Dan Simmons
  6. Ragnarok by C. Gockel
  7. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
  8. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
  9. The Fire Bringers by C. Gockel
  10. Hair Raising by Kevin J. Anderson
  11. The Walking Dead and Philosophy by various authors
  12. The Clockwise Man (Doctor Who) by Justin Richards
  13. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  14. The Universe in a Single Atom by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
  15. Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
  16. Dead Air (Doctor Who) by James Goss
  17. Old School by Tobias Wolff
  18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  19. Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams
  20. The Blood Cell by James Goss
  21. Silhouette (Doctor Who) by Justin Richards
  22. The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige
  23. Overclocked by Cory Doctorow
  24. Shada (Doctor Who) by Gareth Roberts, based on material from the Douglas Adams screenplay
  25. 1984 by George Orwell
  26. The Buddhist Catechism by H. S. Olcott
  27. Don’t Mess with Travis by Bob Smiley
  28. A Honeymoon in Space by George Griffith
  29. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  30. Counter-Clock World by Philip K. Dick
  31. Blink (beta read) by Larry Kollar
  32. Descent (The Walking Dead) by Jay Bonansinga
  33. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  34. Gather Blue (The Giver series) by Lois Lowry
  35. Messenger (The Giver series) by Lois Lowry
  36. Son (The Giver series) by Lois Lowry
  37. Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott
  38. On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
  39. Revolutions of Terror (a Doctor Who graphic novel)
  40. Dark Disciple (Star Wars) by Christie Golden
  41. Pest Control (Doctor Who) by Peter Anghelides
  42. The Last Voyage by Dan Abnett
  43. The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen
  44. Juliet’s Nurse by Lois Leveen
  45. The Abundance of Nothing (poetry) by Bruce Weigl
  46. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  47. You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost) by Felicia Day
  48. Flush by Carl Hiassan
  49. Fairest: Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer
  50. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
  51. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
  52. Short Non-Fiction Collection, volume 038 by various authors
  53. The Walking Dead, volume 1 (graphic novel)
  54. The Walking Dead, volume 2 (graphic novel)
  55. The Walking Dead, volume 3 (graphic novel)
  56. The Walking Dead, volume 4 (graphic novel)
  57. The Walking Dead, volume 5 (graphic novel)
  58. 100 Favorite English and Irish Poems, edited by C. C. Strowbridge
  59. The Walking Dead, volume 6 (graphic novel)
  60. The Walking Dead, volume 7 (graphic novel)
  61. The Walking Dead, volume 8 (graphic novel)
  62. The Walking Dead, volume 9 (graphic novel)
  63. The Walking Dead, volume 10 (graphic novel)
  64. The Walking Dead, volume 11 (graphic novel)
  65. The Walking Dead, volume 12 (graphic novel)
  66. The Walking Dead, volume 13 (graphic novel)
  67. The Walking Dead, volume 14 (graphic novel)
  68. The Walking Dead, volume 15 (graphic novel)
  69. The Walking Dead, volume 16 (graphic novel)
  70. The Walking Dead, volume 17 (graphic novel)
  71. The Walking Dead, volume 17 (graphic novel)
  72. The Walking Dead, volume 18 (graphic novel)
  73. The Walking Dead, volume 19 (graphic novel)
  74. The Walking Dead, volume 20 (graphic novel)
  75. The Walking Dead, volume 21 (graphic novel)
  76. The Walking Dead, volume 22 (graphic novel)
  77. The Walking Dead, volume 23 (graphic novel)
  78. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster
  79. The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines
  80. The Walking Dead, volume 24 (graphic novel)
  81. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  82. Common Sense by Thomas Paine
  83. Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
  84. Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig
  85. Wonder Woman: Volume 1- Blood (graphic novel)
  86. Dragon Magic by Eric J. Krause
  87. Wonder Woman: Volume 2- Guts (graphic novel)
  88. Wonder Woman: Volume 3- Iron (graphic novel)
  89. Wonder Woman Unbound by Tim Hanley (nonfiction)

So, all twenty-four of The Walking Dead graphic novels made a huge chunk of my list, but I’m happy to say I’m completely caught up with the series–with the exception of the individual printed comics that will be included in the next graphic novel. However, that doesn’t come out until next year! I’m not worried; there’s plenty more material from the franchise to consume while I wait. I also joined Audible this year, so in addition to listening to free audiobooks I’ve also begun listening to some that would have otherwise been hard to acquire.

Another binge that my libraries have helped me indulge in is Wonder Woman. I began reading Wonder Woman Unbound, a nonfiction book about the history of Wonder Woman: her history as a comic heroine, her social influences, her historical impact, and her status today as a feminist icon. Wonder Woman has always been my favorite heroine, because she’s the only one that isn’t a direct product of a male hero. I can remember playing Wonder Woman as a little girl, even though my cousin had a really cool batman belt, because I didn’t want to be Batgirl– I wanted to be Wonder Woman. Anyway, I’ve always found her comics hard to get into because I never knew where to start reading, so I thought the nonfiction book would clue me in. And it did. I am currently reading Wonder Woman Chronicles: Volume 1, and plan on continuing my Amazonian binge well into the new year!

I would have liked to hit an even hundred on my list, just because it’s an even number and I’d like the bragging rights, but I have things to do today; I doubt I’m going to finish eleven more books by midnight! However, I am halfway through listening to Stephen Batchelor’s Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, I just started listening to Robert Repino’s Mort(e), still dipping into a paperback reread of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher, and reading an ebook copy of The Autobiography of James T Kirk.

I don’t have any reading resolutions for the new year except to keep up the pacing and diversity of my new reading schedule. As far as other resolutions, the only thing I can think of is to not let my craft room pile up like it did this year. I’ve spent the past three days cleaning it, and my back is not happy about that!

What did you read this past year? What do you plan to read in the next? Do you have any resolutions? Please share them with me, and have a Happy New Year!

 

Books: Best Reads of 2015

In 2015, I read (as well as put down) more books than in previous years. As a result, I plan on simply posting a non-descriptive list of the fiction and non-fiction I’ve consumed in the past year. However, the wonderfully witty and erudite John Wiswell posed the questions:

What are your favorite books that you read this year? Not what was written or published in 2015, but that you personally read and loved for the first time. Fiction, non-fiction, prose, poetry and sequential art are all welcome. You can handle the number and format as you like.

The answers, via twitter, will be posted under #BestReads2015. And since I’m waiting to post my list until later to include as many books as possible, I’m looking forward to this as a supplemental description of my favorite reads of the year.*

As far as I’m concerned, format does not matter. Ebooks, paperbacks, graphic novels, and audiobooks all count as books. Saying a paperback is the only “real” book makes as much sense as saying only scrolls count as real texts, because bound manuscripts are for wusses. I am not including books I have read previously and chose to read again. Oh, and I’m including books series as if they were single books, because–well, let’s face it, many times they read as one extended story. I may have already read one book of a series, but I’ll count the whole series if I continued reading it in 2015.

The Walking Dead graphic novels:

I read the entire series, volumes one through twenty-four, in a two month period. I had already read the first five books, but since I had forgotten them I had to reread them before moving on. I couldn’t put the series down. For those of you who have been living under a rock, The Walking Dead is not about zombies. It’s about people surviving in the zombie apocalypse and how this adversity changes them. Specifically, it follows a good man, Rick Grimes, as he’s forced to rethink his approach to life in a uncivilized world where he must fight to survive and protect those he loves. The questions the series asks are deep, the characters layered, and anyone who says graphic novels don’t count as actual books needs to actually pick one up and read it.

The Dorothy Must Die (novel series) by Danielle Paige:

Since I’ve always had a penchant for reimaginings of classic stories, this continuation of the Oz stories struck a special chord with me. I’ve read Dorothy Must Die and The Wicked Will Rise and am anxiously waiting for my library to make the next few books available to me.*** While not particularly deep, a quality I do not think all fiction needs to have, they are pure fun.

The Giver Quartet (novel series) by Lois Lowry:

The series begins with The Giver, a young adult classic, which I had already read several times. However, I only discovered this year that Lowry had continued the story of Jonas and the world in which he lived. While the second book, Gathering Blue, was about a completely different character, the third book Messenger ties the first two books together. Son, the final installment, is an epic and wonderful morality tale.

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott:

I listened to this audiobook in order to participate in a historical fiction book club at one of my local libraries. One of my resolutions for 2015 was to read more nonfiction, and I’ve never been drawn to bibliographies nor histories. However, this one was an exception. The book, while fiction, focused on the lives of four real female spies: two for the Union, two for the Confederacy. Belle Boyd and Rose O’Neal Greenhow conducted, rather flamboyantly, espionage for the South, while Emma Edmonds and Elizabeth Van Lew fought in their own ways for the North. I thought some of the focus was a bit skewed, with the author picking unlikable Southern characters and more admirable Northern ones, but it was still fascinating. When I finished the book, I conducted some of my own research and determined to read more historical accounts of these (and other) fascinating women.

The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen:

I searched out material on Mary Bowser because I felt her story hadn’t been addressed as well as I would have liked in Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy. Born a slave, she was freed by her owner and recruited to spy in the Confederate White House as a maid. Filled with danger, intrigue, and compelling personal history, this fictionalized account of her life is another book that I simply couldn’t put down.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky:

Another book outside my comfort zone, I downloaded this through manybooks.net. Earlier in the year, I had read Hemingway and how much he admired Dostoyevsky’s writing. I was admittedly a bit intimidated from previous exposure to Russian literature, but after hearing Crime and Punishment described during an episode of Freaks and Geeks, I decided to give it a try. Who says you can’t get good book recommendations from television?

Anyway, the novel follows the thoughts and actions of Raskolnikov, a student who reasons to himself that he would be doing the world a favor by killing an immoral pawnbroker and using her money to perform good deeds. With the exception of the actual crime, which is incredibly brutal, not a lot happens at first. There’s a lot of introspection, he walks around depressed and gets sick, and his family and friends worry about him even though he’s incredibly rude and cruel to them. I have to admit, it took me awhile to get into the characters and see what drew people to this classic of Russian literature. But I did see it.

I began by only reading 2.5% each day (Thor bless ebook software), because it seemed slow to get into but perhaps worth the effort. However, halfway through the book, I began to read faster and become attached to the characters. By the end, nothing was as simple or as black and white as it first appeared. Everything was nuanced and layered, and I still think about this book frequently. It’s one of the most thoughtful books I’ve ever read.

Old School by Tobias Wolff:

I read this book as part of The Big Read, an annual event sponsored by the National Endowment of the Arts. Every year, the Massillon library, Massillon Art Museum, and several other local places take part and promote whatever book has been chosen for the year. 2015’s selection, Old School, was given away for free in various places around Massillon, Ohio; book discussions and promotions were done throughout the month; and the program culminated with a public talk and book signing by Tobias Wolff. My son and I attended the talk and are both proud owners of autographed copies. It was incredibly inspiring and instructional.

The actual book itself was something that–had I not heard so much about it–I would never have picked up on my own. Old School is a semi-fictionalized autobiographical tale of a young boy attending an all boys school. The school held a writing contest for its students each year, and the winner would get a private audience with a famous author. Over the course of the novel, the scheduled authors are Robert Frost, Ayn Rand, and Ernest Hemingway; literary legends that the teenage students idolized and competed heavily to win an audience with. However, for the main character, events unfold in a way he never anticipated. This book is proof positive that great literature must be unreservedly honest, and it both breaks your heart and makes it soar. I know how corny that sounds, but just trust me and read the book. It’s incredible.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost) by Felicia Day:

I read this autobiography because 1. I adore pretty much everything Felicia Day does, 2. its release this year lined up with my resolution to read more nonfiction, and 3. the title caught my attention (yeah, I admit it). While Felicia Day may be known to you as the creator and star of The Guild, she also began the Geek and Sundry YouTube channel, starred in Doctor Horrible, and earned a double major degree in math and music when she graduated college at the age of nineteen. This biography felt very honest and personal, and I truly felt I learned some life lessons within its pages.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline:

This book came with a LOOTCRATE delivery, and I had saved it for my son since he’s obsessed with videogames. However, I got tired of waiting for him to read it, snagged the book for myself, and loved it. It’s a nostalgic and fun trip for anyone who was a teenager in the eighties, and I was surprised to discover it even had a moral and at times made me cry (in a good way).

Shada (Doctor Who) by Gareth Roberts, based on material from the Douglas Adams screenplay:

If you are familiar with my online presence at all, you probably are aware of my obsession with the work of the late, great Douglas Adams. If not, I’m obsessed with the work of the late, great Douglas Adams. In addition to writing the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, the Dirk Gently books, and Last Chance to See, he also wrote for the television series Doctor Who. I was surprised and delighted to find that he drew on his Doctor Who experience when creating the Hitchhiker and Dirk Gently series, and Shada contained many things I recognized from his other books. This was an informative look into the workings of my favorite author as well as an incredibly fun read.

Counter-Clock World by Philip K. Dick:

This book is weird. I mean, really, really Weird–with a capital W. That’s the main reason it stayed with me. And although there is a plot with a love triangle and racial tensions, the main thing about this book that is so weird is that people live backwards. They think forwards in time, as we do, but for some reason they live physically backwards. They aren’t born, but they rise from their graves; then people go to cemeteries listening to hear people calling to be let out, and they dig them up. People age backwards. They don’t really eat, instead they…well, you don’t want to know. Like I said, weird. Memorable, but weird, but so completely out of the box that I had to include it in the list.

So, what books have you really enjoyed in 2015? What books do you plan to read in the coming year? I look forward to your reading recommendations!

 

 

 

 

 

*I know that favorites and best are not necessarily synonymous. Rather, I chose to highlight the books I either couldn’t put down or that stuck with me long after I set them down.

**I prefer ebooks, but I am currently boycotting Barnes & Noble Nook books because they removed the ability to download the books without having to go through the Nook app. It’s the format I have always preferred, so now I either check out my ebooks through the library, buy or download them through another party. I also dislike Kindle format. As a result, I haven’t been able to get the next books as quickly as I would have liked, even though I would happily pay for them. Library digital checkouts were completed largely through the Overdrive app, as well as Hoopla.

Friday Flash: Miracle

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I lost my grip on the wheel, the car spun out of control and slid along the ice toward the thin, wooden railing. I closed my eyes, the wooden rail broke, and the car teetered over the edge. I waited for the inevitable fall, holding my breath, afraid a single exhalation would send me plummeting to the icy depths below. A minute passed. My face reddened and my cheeks puffed until I was forced to exhale, gasping for another breath.

Another miracle.

I didn’t die.

In the rearview mirror, I saw the relative safety of the road rise and fall as the car swayed with each gust of wind. My heart pounded, the wind fought me as I eased the door open and leaned out, but the abyss yawned below. I steeled myself. I could make it–the cliff’s edge was a mere foot away. I took a breath. I could–would–make it. I took another breath…one last, deep, sweet breath before taking the biggest leap of my life.

I missed.

As the icy lake rose to meet me, growing larger with each passing second, a strange calm settled on me. Was this what it felt like to fly? I had lost all control, and there was an odd freedom in that. Your life supposedly slows down just before you die, and I can’t deny that in those few seconds, as the wind laughed and my reflection grew against the shimmering ice, I had time to realize I wanted to see the stars one last time. Buffeted as I was by the mocking wind, I spread my arms wide. An inch above the ice, a fraction of a second before meeting my icy doom, my body suddenly tingled with renewed energy; I felt myself swoop upwards, my arms glittering as I soared toward the stars.

The heavens had never looked so beautiful, but what caught my attention even more, even past my disbelief, my relief, my shivering as I gazed at the cold winter beauty, were the silver sparkles falling from the reindeer that flew a few feet below me. I realized I was coated in tiny silver dots that shimmered against my dark blue cardigan like stars against a cotton sky. I descended slowly into the flying sleigh; its white-haired driver looked me up and down, then told me, “Merry Christmas.”

When my car fell into the darkness below, the explosion lit the heavens like a thousand angels’ wings. Then, without a word, my mysterious benefactor turned the sleigh towards my home.

 

*Image courtesy of BigFoto.com.

**inspired by a text prompt at the six minute story site on December 20th, 2015.

Star Wars: Are you Light-Side or Dark-Side?

starwarsM

This is a question that I see coming up again and again with the advent of the latest installment of the Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens. I know it’s largely advertising, but what bugs me about this is that it entirely misses the point of the original series. The prophecy was about bringing balance to the Force, not eradicating followers of the Dark Side. In fact, it was the Jedi’s shortsightedness in forbidding knowledge of the Dark Side that led to the rise of the Sith. Jedi who wished to develop a deeper understanding by studying both sides of the Force were (no pun intended) forced to study in secret. In other words, the Sith were created by the Jedi’s desire to suppress knowledge.

The Dark Side, as has been shown by Luke’s use of it as well as in the (now defunct) expanded universe, is not inherently evil–just as the Light Side is not inherently good. They are simply opposites. For instance, anger and fear lead to the Dark Side, but anger at oppression is not a bad thing. Neither is fear. In the proper circumstances and proportions, they serve useful purposes. Uncontrolled and excessive anger can lead to massacring Tusken Raiders, but righteous anger motivates us to help and protect those less fortunate than ourselves. Excessive fear can lead to cowardice and stupidity, but appropriate fear teaches us to avoid unnecessary risks.

I’m also going to talk about Luke, but it is pure speculation based on what we already know of the expanded universe. There are no spoilers, I promise you.

Some think that Luke may have married, which has led to accusations that he was not a “true” Jedi–since the original Jedi order did not allow marriage. First of all, Luke is the last and only Jedi. If he did found a new Jedi order, he could have created different rules. Second, since he brought balance to the Force, he would have known that both sides of the Force were necessary for that balance; he could have taught the new Jedis how to balance their attachments with the knowledge of their eventual loss. Having attachments is not necessarily bad, though they do lead to suffering if you do not (in Yoda’s words), “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”

What leads to evil is turning (ie: succumbing) to the Dark Side–in other words, becoming a slave to your own desires and being unable to deal with the fact that you will eventually lose what you love. Everything is impermanent because it is the nature of everything to change. It doesn’t matter if you are a Jedi or a Sith, married or single, friend or foe, you will lose the ones you love. It’s the nature of the universe. Everyone experiences loss. But the difference is whether or not you accept that knowledge and use it to cherish the ones you love in the present, rather than seeking to keep that inevitability from happening.

Balance is about accepting both sides; so the question ‘Are you Light-Side or Dark-Side?’ makes no sense. Everyone contains both the Light and the Dark within themselves. The real question is, Can you walk the balance between them?

 

Friday Flash: Holiday Pains

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Pain surged up his arms, and he wished to Hades he’d listened to the healer and not adopted those damned pets. But the holidays were a time for generosity to all lifeforms as well as celebration. Rather than see the homeless creatures euthanized, he took them in, and now those infernal humans would be the death of him. He popped a few more katha-berries, moaned as he felt the rash rapidly spread across his back, then called for the male and female. “Braaaad! Jannnnet!!” Her and her blasted mate had caused this misery; the least they could do was scratch his back.

 

*Image courtesy of BigFoto.com.

Friday Flash: Leia-esque

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Her destination awaits, but yet she can’t bring herself to walk up the escalator. She should, she knows that. She should race up the moving stairs to reach her goal sooner, but it seems undignified somehow. Sure, her Leia buns are mere headphones, and her white satin bathrobe a poor approximation of the space princess’s Senatorial garb, but her persona is the most important part of the costume.

For tonight, she is Leia.

She adjusts the black-rimmed monstrosity that sits upon her nose, clutches her tickets, and steels herself for the trial before her. If only she carried a lightsaber…but no, theater policy forbade that part of her fantasy. Still, Leia has midichlorians enough to fight a Galactic Empire, so surely she can face an overzealous crowd on opening night. After all, she is the child of Vader as well as Amidala, and she’s fully prepared to force-choke the bejesus out of anyone who blocks her seat tonight.

 

*inspired by a photo prompt and published in first draft form at the six minute story site on Thursday, December 10, 2015. The above version has been edited.

**The above story was written in honor of next Friday’s premiere of The Force Awakens.

***Image courtesy of BigFoto.com.

 

Friday Flash: Heartbeat

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Beatrix clasped her hat tightly to her head and shuddered as the cold wind whipped across the platform. Stage fright already had her firmly in its clutches, and the outdoor performance only increased her anxiety. What was she thinking? Singing in the shower was one thing; this was totally different. She gazed at the sea of faces before her and felt her heart beat even faster. Her breath caught in her throat as she thought of him in the audience–his reaction. What would he think? Would he think her a fool, an artist, or a lunatic? Her entire future might very well rest on this performance.

The audience murmured at the unexpected delay. A hush descended on the crowd as she cleared her throat and signaled to the band. Beatrix began crooning “They can’t take that away from me.” Her voice rose in pitch and volume, and the band–in rare form–performed as never before. Was it possible that they knew too? No matter, she couldn’t think of that now. She lost herself in the words, the melody, the feel of her heart breaking before the crowd…

When it was over, the audience remained silent for almost a full minute before bursting into applause. Her face reddened, but Beatrix only nodded once before gesturing to the band. Her fellow musicians bowed, but she had eyes for only one audience member. Then, flushed and happy, her entire body melted when she saw him smile and begin clapping with the crowd.

 

*inspired by a photo prompt and published in first draft form at the six minute story site on Thursday, December 3, 2015. The above version has been edited.

**Image courtesy of BigFoto.com.