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2017 Year in Review

I just spent a happy day yesterday planning out my new reading list for the next year.  This is always an event which I look forward to!  But before I delve into my plans in an upcoming post, I like to take a look back at what the last 12 months has looked like for me in terms of reading.

Finishing up the year, I feel pretty pleased with myself.  This is because I was able to read more than in recent years and have a longer list of total books read than I’ve had in a long while.  Especially the last couple months– by rearranging my evening plans [i.e., mainly quitting work and shutting off my computer!], I’ve had more time to read, which means more books accomplished.  Well, as soon as one title gets added to my ‘done’ list, it lights a fire in my belly to consume more… and on it snowballs!  So lately I’ve had an increased interest in reading fiction.

My total for this year is 23 titles (14 fiction; 9 non-fiction), and I don’t think I’ll be adding anymore to the list in the next couple of days.  As always, I’ve actually sat down with a lot more non-fiction that what appears on my official list, but those were mostly skim read and I don’t count them as actual books read.  You can view my complete 2017 reading list here.  I’m a little behind in where I want to be on this blog […okay– a lot], but book reviews are coming on most of them.

Here is a little exercise that has now become traditional on this blog, where I do a fun Q&A answering with titles of books read during the past year.  I’m usually limited as to what I can answer with, but this year I have a little more to work with!  Here we go…

Describe yourself:  Just Jane, by Nancy Moser

Describe where you currently live: Escape from Colditz, by P. R. Reid

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: The Blue Castle, by L. M. Montgomery

Your favourite form of transportation: The Long Walk, by Slavomir Rawicz

What’s the weather like: Secrets on the Wind, by Stephanie Grace Whitson

You and your friends are: Wish You Were Here, by Beth Vogt

You fear: John Jago’s Ghost, by Wilkie Collins

What is the best advice you have to give: The Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning

Thought for the day: Simply Tuesday, by Emily P. Freeman

My soul’s present condition: Fight Back with Joy, by Margaret Feinberg

How I would like to die: The Loved One, by Catherine Palmer and Peggs Stoks

What about you?  Can you answer these questions with book titles you’ve read?  I’d love to read them in the comments below!  Some can be pretty humorous!

Okay, now time for my Year in Review Awards!  These are so much fun, as I “award” different books I’ve read in different categories.  There’s been a mish mash of Christian contemporary, shorter-sized books, mysteries and romances.  In some of these categories, I’ve had to split hairs and make some close calls because there were several that could easily have won ‘best of’.  Click on the pictures to read more info…

So out of these, which was my all-time, highest ranking favorite of 2017?…

🙂

 

2017 Favorite Book of the Year!

L. M. Montgomery– one of my favorite authors since I was a teenager– has done it again!  An altogether very different novel than her Anne books, The Blue Castle completely surprised me, made me laugh, sigh, and cozy up with in the evenings to read.  I highly recommend it, if you think you’ve tried everything out there.

Well, that’s it for this year.  What a great one it’s been for reading, for growing, and for learning!  And that’s one of the main things life’s all about.

What has your year in reading looked like?

 

 

 

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Posted by on December 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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~Quote for September 2, 2017~

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2017 in Quotes

 

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How Biblical is the Fantasy Genre?

Someone recently approached my mom and asked her if she liked fantasy.  Sure, she said; some of it.

What constitutes fantasy that is good as opposed to fantasy that is bad?  Is there a difference?  Is there something about it that should make one hesitant from a Christian perspective, or are they all just good fiction stories?  As Christians, we may sometimes be reserved when approaching the fantasy genre because different reasons.  Too much unreality may not be beneficial, or maybe the magical elements are of a corrupting influence.  Then, I have known other Christians who seem to practice no discernment, and devour anything because none of it is true so what’s the problem?

I first discovered author Gene Edward Veith while helping out in the church library.  I still have yet to read his books, but a growing number of his titles are on my TBR list.  I stumbled upon this article written by him, entitled Good Fantasy & Bad Fantasy.  I thought it was an excellent piece that approached the subject in an well-rounded way.  Though perhaps written a few years ago, it’s content is still classic for today’s audience as well.

What are your thoughts on the fantasy genre?

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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2016 Year in Review

03e0a3b69636ab4a344b3bf6a50d257dAnd now it’s time for one of my favorite annual blog posts—Year in Review! This is where I stand back and evaluate all of my reads of the past year and decide what were my favorites and why.

But before we get to the Awards, I want to make a confession: for the second year in a row I did not complete as many books as I would have liked. I have realized that some things in my life have changed and I have other interests so that I just don’t have the same amount of time as I used to.  This hasn’t meant I’ve quit reading or quit accumulating a never-ending TBR list!  Just means I’ll probably be finishing that list on the other side of heaven (you know- I mean, after I die).  I am trying to not be so hard on myself, and to just accept what I do get accomplished.

This year I read a total of 17 books (11 fiction + 6 nonfiction), down from last year. L I still hope to finish 3 other books yet by the end of the year, which are: “Tangled Ashes,” by Michele Phoenix; “101 Secrets for Your Twenties,” by Paul Angone; “The Lost Shipwreck of Paul,” by Robert Cornuke.  But I won’t hold my breath!

As always, I skim read a lot more non fiction books than is listed in my Complete List of Books Read page. But since I don’t count skimming as actually reading it in honesty, the numbers belie how much read-consuming I do.  Among the many non fiction subjects I read about were: sales & marketing, modern-day entertainment, biography, rust belts of America, art and philosophy.  I’m also quite proud of myself for completing one of the longest novels I’ve read in years.

Here is a fun little exercise I make it my yearly review tradition to complete, using the titles of books I’ve read during the past 12 months:

Describe yourself: Eyes of the Heart, by Christine Valters Paintner

How do you feel: The Prisoner of Zenda, by Anthony Hope

Describe where you currently live: ?

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: From Bondage to Bonding, by Nancy Groom

Your favourite form of transportation: Sensible Shoes, by Sharon Garlough Brown

What’s the weather like: A Season of Shadows, by Paul McCusker

You and your friends are: A Flickering Light, by Jane Kirkpatrick

You fear: In Sheep’s Clothing, by Susan May Warren

What is the best advice you have to give: How to Live Like a Lady, by Sarah Tomczak

Thought for the day: Lavender and Old Lace, by Myrtle Reed

My soul’s present condition: Finding Truth, by Nancy Pearcey

How I would like to die: The Art of Immersion, by Frank Rose

That was fun! How would you answer these questions with the book titles you’ve read the past year?

And now for booklearned’s 2016 Awards! Click on the pictures below for the winners in each category, along with my comments and links:

And my favorite fiction book of 2016 was…

2016 Best Humor; 2016 Most Beautifully Written; 2016 Best Atmosphere

“Titus Groan,” by Mervyn Peake

 

It was a hard deliberation between Titus Groan and Sensible Shoes.  Both made it into my Top 20 list of all-time favorites. On one hand, I learned so much while reading Sensible Shoes.  I read it with a book club where we got together periodically to discuss it together and that was a fun experience.  But when it comes right down to it, Titus Groan refuses to leave me alone with it’s potent atmosphere.  I don’t want to give it away, but count on a book review coming on it soon.  In fact, book reviews will be available on all of these reads within the next coming months.  As soon as I get caught up finishing my book reviews from last year’s reads!  Oh, dear- I’m so far behind.  But I am determined to catch up, I promise!

What were your favorite books from 2016? Share them with me!

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Writers to Read (Moody Program)

065572234cd7367aa85b2edf1cd24c0aHi, all!  I wish I hadn’t slept too long on listening to this program on Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio.  I just listened to it and heard enough interesting thoughts to write a three page document of notes!  Featuring the guest Douglas Wison, author of The Case for Classical Christian Education and Writers to Read (both of which I will be looking for at the library sometime), the discussion revolves around his latter book in which he suggests nine specific great authors to read and why.  Books are always a great discussion, but I actually had to laugh out loud a time or two while listening to this!  🙂  Please don’t wait too long to listen, as it expires Sept. 17.

 

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Christy Awards & Summer Reading

29a10b1668c8b0713fa0770a6b42a8b3Hey, there!  Are you looking for something really good to read this summer while on vacation?  Or maybe you’re looking for a book to take you on vacation if you can’t get away for real?  Chris Fabry recently aired a program on Chris Fabry Live where he interviewed various authors awarded the Christy Award for 2016.  He spent two hours talking about their books and the stories behind the stories.  I haven’t listened to it yet, but I can’t wait to scout out for more interesting reads to add to my To Read Notebook!  *Please be aware these programs are playable for a limited time only.

 

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Audie Awards 2016 (Belated)

screen-shrinkI look forward to the Audie Awards every spring, but for the life of me I can never remember they’re coming up until after they’re over with!  So, as usual, this is a belated post concerning the biggest event of the year in the audiobook world.

You can view a complete list of the nominated finalists, as well as the winners here, but among the ones that caught my eye are as follows (winners are marked with *’s):

Dick Van Dyke was nominated for narrating his autobiography “Keep Moving”; Scott Brick had several top contender positions as best male narrator (“Dead Wake,” by Erik Larson, “Jurassic Park,” by Michael Crichton*), and in the suspense/thriller genre (“The Patriot Threat,” by Steve Barry*, “The President’s Shadow,” by Brad Meltzer).  Richard Armitage was also nominated as best male narrator for reading “Classic Love Poems” (can I hear an audible sigh?).  Alex Jennings was noticed for “A God in Ruins,” by Kate Atkinson.  Under classics, Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Kidnapped” (read by Kieron Elliott) was nominated.  The new Heirloom Productions (more on this in a coming post) was a finalist in the multi-voice productions category for “With Lee in Virginia,” by G. A. Henty and starring Sean Astin and Kirk Cameron.  Edward Hermann narrated the YA adaptation of “Unbroken,” by Laura Hillenbrand.  Audible Studios was a contender in the audio drama section with their Jungle Books: Mowgli Stories by Rudyard Kipling*.  Well-known Katherine Kellgren had many top-notch reads, including Best Female Narrator: “Wild Rover No More,” by L. A. Meyer*; also “The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book V,” by Maryrose Wood.  Talented Simon Vance was a finalist in the Fantasy genre for “Ascension,” by Brian K. Fuller and in History for “In Search of Sir Thomas Browne,” by Hugh Aldersley-Williams.

Lots of links!  Lots of resources!  Go check them out! 🙂

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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