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New Reading Year- Looking Ahead 2018

I’m pretty excited about the new year and what lies ahead, especially in the area of reading!  I’ve been feeling pretty psyched since I wound up 2017 with more books read than expected, and I’m off to a good start already.  I’ve already finished one book, I have another half read, and another one awaits me at the library after coming in on the interlibrary loan system.

This year my reading resolution is simple: read 24 books (2 books per month).  I’m pretty sure I can accomplish that one.  To some that may not seem very ambitious but it is a challenging, yet doable number for me.  Especially considering I have some other major projects in the works this year.

I have made up my usual reading list for this year, and can’t wait to start on it.  I wrote in a post a long time ago how I do this the week after Christmas.  However, I’m also trying something a little different.  I joined a reading challenge group on goodreads!  I’ve been mulling over joining one for a while and perused several before making up my mind to join The Seasonal Reading Challenge.  This group appealed to me for several reasons.  For one, I liked the idea that it is seasonal and goes by themes.  There many different tasks of varying difficulties and allows for a broad range of reading.  So, I made up a second reading list (did I say I love lists?) planning out titles to read that qualify under the challenges required, only it basically incorporates most of the books from my first list that I’d been planning on reading anyway.  I’m not sure how I will like this change.  You may laugh, but I’m very serious about my lists and what order I read books in.  I love rules, but only the ones I make up for myself.  Ha!  So we’ll see how I do with a reading group.

I will strive to get my reviews ‘caught up’ this year.  This is actually a little relative in my definition of being caught up.  Ever since the start of this blog I have posted reviews at least a year after having read the book and this is because the margin gives me a feeling of distance and control.  It also gives me the ability to change certain comments I make so that I don’t end up writing something I will regret later.  Of course, I sometimes still do regret things I’ve written.  But time to go back much later with hindsight is better for me.  So my goal is to ‘get caught up’ to within a year’s past reviews, if that makes any sense.

I would like to start up my ‘Character Reflections Series’ again; I miss writing them!  Also, I have had an idea for years that I would like to start adding music somehow to my blog, but have not quite figured out how to do it in a way that is not annoying.  I’ve been looking into it and playing around, so don’t be surprised if you find that appearing on booklearned!

Do you have any different reading goals this year?  Share below!

 

 

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Posted by on January 7, 2018 in Reading Habits

 

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End of Year Random Book Post

Must do this post because my current new stack would fall over if it wasn’t propped up between my bookcase and my nightstand.  I’ve now started Bookcase #3 and have about 1 1.2 shelves left of free space on that.  Oh dear…  Does anyone else have these problems?

I love going through my accumulations because I forget what I have and it’s like Christmas all over again!

 

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2017 in Book Shopping

 

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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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IMHO- Children’s Books I Liked/Disliked Growing Up

Children’s books are still a reading option for one and all well into adulthood.  One does not outgrow a classic story worth its salt even if the wording is simplified for little ears.  Sometimes, that is the best way for a story to reach the heart.

Unfortunately, not all children’s books are discovered by us when we are children.  Not all children’s books that should be appreciated at a young age are until we are much older.  And not all children’s books are really worth reading at any age.

I’m not a literature professor.  But I was a kid once, and knew my taste in books.  I thought it would be interesting to do a post on the books I remember loving -and hating- when I was a kid.  The books I have listed as loving are titles I feel have been underrated (or at least, I haven’t heard them talked about much) and wanted to bring attention to them.  Were my tastes correct?  My opinion on some of these stories have changed over time (my commentary is provided with each).  Sometimes, there is no right or wrong (just unique) taste.

I loved: The Kingdom of Kidderminster books, by Christopher A. Lane.  Based on the parables of Jesus, good King Leonard and his animal kingdom learn familiar lessons in tales such as King Leonard’s Great Grape Harvest and Nicholas and His Neighbors.  The illustrations are rich and super cute.  These were also some of the very first “audiobooks” I narrated as a child :).  To this day I can’t hear of these parables in a sermon without thinking of Mrs. Beaver or Sir Humphrey.

I disliked: Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter books.  I’m not sure why I could never get into them, but I have an idea it was the pictures of scraggly-drawn creatures.

I loved: The Goose Girl, by the Brothers Grimm.  A twist on the Cinderella story, the goose girl uses her creative talents to design a beautiful ball gown made entirely of white downy feathers.  This always captured my imagination!

I disliked: The Princess and the Pea, by Hans Christian Andersen.  I believe I now have this enigmatic fairy tale figured out, but as a little girl I was upset with the ending that did not make sense.  Could it be it was all about the noble use of discernment?

I loved: Homer Price, by Robert McCloskey.  Long chapters, great vocabulary, fun illustrations! For older readers.  My sister and I made a radio drama out of Nothing New Under the Sun.  I loved the small town setting with familiar characters in new adventures chapter after chapter.

I disliked: Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson.  I tried many times to start and restart this book.  I can’t tell you how many times I checked it out of the library.  But that old yellow cover just did not appeal to me and I could never get beyond page 2.

I loved: Incognito Mosquito, by E.A. Hass.  Not exactly a classic forevermore, but I’ll reckon maybe you never heard of it.  I’d done run out of Encyclopedia Brown books and was hankering for more of the like, when I come across a private insective with a gnat for witty bug jokes in rambling narrative who saves history slime and slime again.

I disliked: Paddington Bear, by Michael Bond.  I wish I could say this was a book I loved, but I required much more action and the marmalade-sucking, rain-dripping bear wasn’t cutting it.

I loved: Snow White & Rose Red, by the Brothers Grimm.  This was one of my favorites from the old Childcraft books.  I loved the story of two sisters, a cottage among roses, and of good things coming to those who are kind and loving.  I always wondered though- did they fight over marrying the bear prince and who would settle for his brother?  Probably not; they were so good, after all.  They weren’t like my sister and me.

I disliked: Diamonds and Toads, by Charles Perrault.  Rather an obscure tale overshadowed by the more popular Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.  Ironically, although I didn’t like this story growing up, I believe I was fascinated with the idea all the same.  It isn’t what goes into a person that corrupts them, but what comes out of them (ie, the heart) through their words and actions.  But imagining frogs and toads coming out of their mouths made me shudder.  Actually, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to be rewarded with diamonds and butterflies coming out of mine, either.

I loved: The Ivan Series, by Myrna Grant.  I think these books are almost unheard of among today’s generation, and probably were for mine as well (they were published in the 1960’s).  But my grandparents were church librarians at the time and that was how I discovered these gems.  Set during the Cold War era in Soviet Russia, the suspense had me on the edge of my seat.  I couldn’t get enough of them!

I disliked: The Pansy books.  If you are an Anne of Green Gables fan, you may remember a brief reference to these as books Anne and her friends passed around at school.  As a homeschooler, I had access to them as well and did read one called ‘Esther Reid.’  The books are basically moralistic Sunday School tales with great benefit, I’m sure– but I was bored to tears.  I could not bring myself to slog my way through another one, though my friend enjoyed them.

I loved: …The King of the Golden River, by John Ruskin.  We had this as an oversized storybook when I was a kid.  There was something mysterious about this tale and its pictures that captivated me.  Perhaps it was partly because it was given to us by an old man with a funny accent and a mysterious past himself.

I disliked: Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.  I can appreciate this story now with a few more years under my belt, but as a kid the utter chaos lost me but good.

I loved: …The Story of the 10 Lepers, found in Luke 17:11-19.  I loved the stories of Esther and David and Goliath.  But there was something about this story as well, that made me fall in love with the one leper out of ten who had a heart of gratitude for what Jesus had done for him.  His simple and sincere thank you made Jesus smile.

I disliked: The Jungle Books, by Rudyard Kipling.  As I said, I was usually much more into romantic stories of kings and queens than I was into half naked boys and mongooses.  It was just too different of a culture for me to understand and get interested in at the time.

What stories did you love or hate as a child?  Are there any you consider underrated that deserve more attention?  Share below!

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Autumn/Winter Christian Fiction 2017…

I hope everyone had a fulfilling Thanksgiving!

Today I’m sharing a list of new Christian/Inspirational fiction that was released in the CBD catalog for Fall 2017.  I never really go in for the Christmas-themed books.  But I was thrilled to find a longer list of novels this time around that has me super interested to get my hands on!  Some are by my favorite authors (Lyn Austin, Jane Kirkpatrick, Tricia Goyer…), and some are writers I haven’t heard of before.  That’s exciting!.  And, I must say the book art on these are stunning!  Just look at the layers of color and drama!

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Posted by on November 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Random Books from Vacation!

You didn’t think I could go on vacation without hitting every library book sale and thrift store I could within a certain radius did you?  Most of these were found during an 11 day ‘business trip on vacation’ (oxymoron).  But book buying is always pleasurable, and these will be finding a place of their own on my shelves.  If I had any more shelves…

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2017 in Book Shopping

 

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Mid Year Reading Goals

Although it may seem like I’ve been getting into a blogging rut of recent months, I’m actually pretty proud of myself for keeping on and not quitting.  I don’t want to quit even if things have been busy and hectic sometimes.

And I still have new blogging goals.  Some I will not be making public yet for a while with them, and others I will start during now during the mid year.  This revamping is not so much a revamp of the blog, as it is of my reading routines, but the routines will be showing a little difference here on the blog.

So, without further ado, I unmask my newest reading goal, and that is to join The Classics Club.  This is where I make a list of 50+ classics I plan on reading at least within the next five years and blog about them, then link them to The Classics Club blog.  I have decided to do this because 1) the goal was doable; 2) I read classics anyway; 3) I’ve discovered some really lovely book blogs out there that I didn’t know existed through TCC; 4) I would love to meet and interact with some other like-minded book lovers out there!

Below I will be sharing my curated list of classics I plan on reading.  Let it be known that I am using the word ‘classic’ loosely to suit my own tastes, which tend to be a lot of vintage dime thrillers.  I still have no desire to jump into War and Peace.   But I believe that if a book is an oldie and has at least stood the test of time well enough for me to have an interest in reading it, it must be a classic, right?  I also have many children’s classics, but that was in no way meant to cheat.  I appreciate any good story!  And lest anyone shouts my list is ‘No fair!”, I will refer you to the several below that are more ‘serious’ works of literature.  I avoided repeating authors or books from the same series in order to keep the variety.

The list may be subject to change:

Main 50 Classics Club List:

The Blue Castle, by L. M. Montgomery

The Borrowers Afield, by Mary Norton

Miss Billy, by Eleanor H. Porter

The Seven Conundrums, by E. Phillips Oppenheim

Return to Gone-Away, by Elizabeth Enright

The Cloister and the Hearth, by Charles Reade

The Brass Bottle, by F. Anstey

The Shaving of Shagpat, by George Meredith

The Film Mystery, by Arthur B. Reeve

The Phoenix and the Carpet, by Edith Nesbit

The Flaming Forest, by James Oliver Curwood

Captain Blood Returns, by Rafael Sabatini

King Solomon’s Mines, by H. Rider Haggard

Dead Men’s Money, by J. S. Fletcher

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Doctor Thorne, by Anthony Trollope

John Jago’s Ghost, by Wilkie Collins

The Passenger from Calais, by Arthur Griffiths

The Rosary, by Florence L. Barclay

Arsene Lupin, Gentleman-Thief, by Maurice LeBlanc

The Amazing Interlude, by Mary Roberts Rinehart

Alice in Blunderland, by John Kendrick Bangs

At the Appointed Time, by Anna Maynard Barbour

Wired Love, by Ella Cheever Thayer

The Heart’s Kingdom, by Maria Thompson Davies

Basil Howe, by G. K. Chesterton

Gormenghast, by Mervyn Peake

The Fisherman’s Lady, by George MacDonald

The Maid of Sker, by R. D. Blackmore

Miss Cayley’s Adventures, by Grant Allen

Down the Garden Path, by Beverley Nichols

The Willows, by Algernon Blackwood

The Mystery of the Blue Train, by Agatha Christie

Mr. Harrison’s Confessions, by Elizabeth Gaskell

The Man Who Lost Himself, by H. de Vere Stacpoole

The Laughing Cavalier, by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

The Green Rust, by Edgar Wallace

A Fair Barbarian, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Bronte

Villette, by Charlotte Bronte

The New Chronicles of Rebecca, by Kate Douglas Wiggin

The Blessing of Pan, by Lord Dunsany

The Palace in the Garden, by Mary Louisa Molesworth

A Spinner in the Sun, by Myrtle Reed

Trent’s Last Case, by E. C. Bentley

The Forsaken Inn, by Anna Katharine Green

Paradise Lost, by James Milton

Nothing So Strange, by James Hilton

Love Insurance, by Earl derr Biggers

The Book of the Dun Cow, by Walter Wangerin, Jr.

 

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2017 in Reading Habits

 

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