Good morning!  Welcome to another Thursday event, in which we spark some creativity and dig into the books we’re reading for our Thursday Themes, hosted by Reading Between Pages ; or explore our thoughts and feelings about bookish topics in Booking Through Thursday.











Searching for themes will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

This week’s theme is very (!!!) easy ;) Find the actual word ‘Very’



Today, I’m excerpting from Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan, her first novel and a 2006 Bellwether Prize winner.

It is 1946 in the Mississippi Delta, where Memphis-bred Laura McAllan is struggling to adjust to farm life, rear her daughters with a modicum of manners and gentility, and be the wife her land-loving husband, Henry, wants her to be. It is an uphill battle every day. Things started badly when Henry’s trusting nature resulted in the family being done out of a nice house in town, thus relegating them to a shack on their property. In addition, Henry’s father, Pappy, a sour, mean-spirited devil of a man, moves in with them.

The real heart of the story, however, is the friendship between Jamie, Henry’s too-charming brother, and Ronsel Jackson, son of sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm. They have both returned from the war changed men: Jamie has developed a deep love for alcohol and has recurring nightmares; Ronsel, after fighting valiantly for his country and being seen as a man by the world outside the South, is now back to being just another black “boy.”

Told in alternating chapters by Laura, Henry, Jamie, Ronsel, and his parents, Florence and Hap, the story unfolds with a chilling inevitability. Jordan’s writing and perfect control of the material lift it from being another “ain’t-it-awful” tale to a heart-rending story of deep, mindless prejudice and cruelty. This eminently readable and enjoyable story is a worthy recipient of Kingsolver’s prize and others as well. –Valerie Ryan


Snippet:  (In Laura’s voice) He took me to restaurants and the picture show, for walks along the Mississippi and day trips to the surrounding countryside, where he pointed out features of the land and the farms we passed.  He was very knowledgeable about crops, livestock and such.  When I remarked on it, he told me he’d grown up on a farm. (7% Kindle).

It took me several pages to find my first “very”!  What did the rest of you discover?


In Booking Through Thursday, here’s our thought for the day:

What’s more important: Good writing? Or a good story?

(Of course, a book should have BOTH, but…)

Oh, that’s a tough one….I really do enjoy a good story, but I revel in the beautiful prose that seemingly whispers like the wind, or thunders across the pages like an emotional cloudburst.

I must have both!  But if I had to live without the gorgeous prose, I guess I definitely do need a good story.  James Patterson is a good example:  his prose is not magical, but he can create a page-turning tale.

His famous short chapters seemingly add to the tension. 


But I still do adore those beautifully wrought tales…sigh.  Like this author:

She manages to give us beautiful prose and great stories.

What about the rest of you?  What do you say?




  1. Ok, I cant choose. It depends on my mood I guess… sometimes a good writing keeps me captivated , but a good story never fails to catch my attention either.

    Your theme thursday is good, though I am surprised people had to search for VERY. I always thought it was an overused word 🙂 You should have cheated and just searched for the word in your kindle 🙂


    • Well, I didn’t know about searching for a word in Kindle….Kavyen mentioned that, too. I don’t think it’s actually cheating…lol

      Next time I’ll know! Thanks for visiting, and I’m glad you like my blog, whimsical willow. Hope you’ll visit often.


  2. I had a difficult time choosing as well because I really think both should go together. But I ended up choosing good writing because I think that it can do wonders for a book.

    I also like that you supplied some examples as well. I’ve never read a James Patterson novel but I have heard good things. 🙂


    • Thanks for stopping by, Jerika…It is an almost impossible choice, isn’t it? My examples of Patterson show that with “good enough” writing, I can enjoy a good story (if I had to choose story!).


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