Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge




Welcome to the 2018 

Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge


Also the home of Well Educated Mind, 52 Books Bingo, Blossom
Bookology, Mind Voyages, Dusty and Chunky, and various mini challenges. 


The rules are very simple and the goal - read 52 books.


  • The challenge will run from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018. 
  • Our book weeks will begin on Sunday
  • Week one will begin on Monday, January 1st. 
  • Participants may join at any time. 
  • All books are acceptable except children books.** 
  • All forms of books are acceptable including e-books, audio books, etc. 
  • Re-reads are acceptable as long as they are read after January 1, 2018 
  • Books may overlap other challenges. 
  • Create an entry post linking to this blog. 
  • Sign up with Mr. Linky in the "I'm participating post" in the sidebar
  • You don't have a blog to participate. Post your weekly book in the comments section of each weekly post. 
  • Mr. Linky will be added to the bottom of the each weekly post for you to link to reviews of your reads. 

All the mini challenges are optional. Mix it up anyway you like. The goal is to read 52 books. How you get there is up to you.




**in reference to children books. If it is a child whose reading it and involved in the challenge, then that's okay. If an adult is doing read aloud with kids, the book should be geared for the 9 - 12 age group and above and over 100 pages. If adult reading for own enjoyment, then a good rule of thumb to go by "is there some complexity to the story or is it too simple?" If it's too simple, then doesn't count.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

BW3: Travels along the Silk Road

Courtesy of Silkroutes.net


I've had an interesting time exploring Japan, but the pull of the Silk Road is drawing me away. There are a number of directions to go since the trade route runs from China across Central and South Asia, through the Middle East, and into Europe.  Let's take a step back in time with China Discovery's Classic Silk Road Tour.  

Shall we follow in the footsteps of  Xuanzang, a seventh-century Chinese monk




"The Silk Road Journey with Xuanzang tells the saga of the seventh-century Chinese monk Xuanzang, one of China's great heroes, who completed an epic sixteen-year-long journey to discover the heart of Buddhism at its source in India. Eight centuries before Columbus, this intrepid pilgrim traveled 10,000 miles on the Silk Road, meeting most of Asia's important leaders at that time. In this revised and updated edition, Sally Hovey Wriggins, the first Westerner to walk in Xuanzang's footsteps, brings to life a courageous explorer and devoutly religious man. Through Wriggins's telling of Xuanzang's fascinating and extensive journey, the reader comes to know the contours of the Silk Road, Buddhist art and archaeology, the principles of Buddhism, as well as the geography and history of China, Central Asia, and India. The Silk Road Journey with Xuanzang is an inspiring story of human struggle and triumph, and a touchstone for understanding the religions, art, and culture of Asia."




Take a historical fiction journey full of dragons and ghosts



"SILK ROAD takes you into the golden age of China's multi-cultural Tang dynasty. Aided by ghosts, goddesses, dragons, and her own determination, the heroine becomes a courtesan, a musician, a runaway, a wandering swordswoman, a poet, and more.




Discover Buddha's hidden Library in Journeys on the Silk Road 



"When a Chinese monk broke into a hidden cave in 1900, he uncovered one of the world’s great literary secrets: a time capsule from the ancient Silk Road. Inside, scrolls were piled from floor to ceiling, undisturbed for a thousand years. The gem within was the Diamond Sutra of AD 868. This key Buddhist teaching, made 500 years before Gutenberg inked his press, is the world’s oldest printed book."  



Explore the Cave Temples full of Buddhist Art



"The Mogao grottoes in northwestern China, located near the town of Dunhuang on the fabled Silk Road, constitute one of the world’s most significant sites of Buddhist art. Preserved in some five hundred caves carved into rock cliffs at the edge of the Gobi Desert are one thousand years of exquisite wall paintings and sculpture. Founded by Buddhist monks in the late fourth century, Mogao grew into an artistic and spiritual center whose renown extended from the Chinese capital to the far western kingdoms of the Silk Road. Among its treasures are 45,000 square meters of murals, more than 2,000 statues, and some 50,000 medieval silk paintings and illustrated manuscripts."

Immerse yourself in the poetry of the Silk Road



"Journeys Along the Silk Road is a fascinating poetic journey meandering along the ancient Silk Road featuring some of most exciting poets of our generation. The poems in the book reflect the great diversity of the cultures and people of the Silk Road. Drawn from countries traditionally associated with the ancient road they offer a fascinating snapshot of life along the Silk Road in the twenty-first century."




Happy Travels! 

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Please link to your specific post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment telling us what you have been reading.   Every week I will put up  Mr. Linky which will close at the end of each book week.  No matter what book you are reading or reviewing at the time, whether it be # 1 or # 5 or so on, link or comment on the current week's post.





Sunday, January 7, 2018

BW2: Miyuki Miyabe and Haruki Murakami

Courtesy of Goodreads

Our author choices of the month are Miyuki Miyabe and Haruki Murakami.


Miyuki Miyabe was born December 23, 1960 in Tokyo, Japan where she still lives at present.   She began writing classes at the age of 23 while working in a law office. Her  debut short story Warera  ga rinjin no hanzai (Our Neighbor's Crime) was published in 1987 and won the All Yomimono Mystery Prize for new writers.  

She has written short stories, a horror anthology - Apparitions: Ghosts of Old Edo,    numerous adult crime and thrillers plus  science fiction fantasy novels for children. She has received numerous awards for her work including Mystery Writers of Japan in 1992,  Japan SF Award in 1997, and The Best Japanese Crime Fiction of the Year in 1992. She also won the U.S. Batchelder award  for Brave Story as the most outstanding children's book, translated into English and published in the U.S.   

Several of her novels had been made into tv dramas and films.  Brave Story was also adapted into a children's animated film in 2006 and  nominated for an "Animation of the Year" award for the 2007 Japanese Academy Awards. 

Her most recent best selling novels are St. Peter’s Funeral Procession , as well as Solomon's Perjury which has yet to be translated. 

Learn more about Miyuki through Reuter's interview Japan Writer wants world to see new face of Toyko as well as Miyuki Miyabe and Japanese Noir.  

If you are feeling really ambitious, check out Noriko Chino's doctorate dissertation from 2008 on Miyuki Miyabe's Place in the Development of Japanese Mystery Fiction



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Courtesy of Time 



Haruki Murakami was born January 12, 1949 in Tokyo, Japan and will be 69 this year. He began writing at the age of 29, inspired by all things, a baseball game. Hear the Wind Sing, his first book in Trilogy of the Rat, was published in 1979 and he won the Gunzou Shinjin Sho, the Gunzo New Writer Award for new writers, established by Gunzo Magazine.

He soon followed up with two more books in his Trilogy of the Rat:  Pinball 1973 in 1979  and A Wild Sheep Chase in 1982.  He won the Noma Bungei Shinjin Sho (Noma Literary Award for New Writers) for A Wild Sheep Chase in 1982.  During this period of time he sold his bar, Jazz Cats, which he had opened in 1974, and began writing full time.

In 1985 he wrote Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the Year  for which he won the  Junichi Tanizaki Award.  In 1991 he moved to the United States where he taught at Princeton and also wrote The Wind Up Bird Chronicle which was published in 1994. He won the prestigious Yomiuri Literary Award.

He moved back to Japan in 1995 and has gone on to write numerous novels both fiction and nonfiction, including his latest short story collection released in 2017 - Men Without Women.

If you want to find out more about Murakami -  Check out his website, follow him on facebook, peak into his interviews in Japan Times including articles on  musicjazz and the brain, and danish award


Join me in reading both Miyuki Miyabe and Haruki Murakami this month! 


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Please link to your specific post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment telling us what you have been reading.   Every week I will put up  Mr. Linky which will close at the end of each book week.  No matter what book you are reading or reviewing at the time, whether it be # 1 or # 5 or so on, link to the current week's post.






Monday, January 1, 2018

BW1: Welcome to our Open Roads Reading Adventure



Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. 
They are the destination, and the journey. 
They are home.” ~  Anna Quindlen



Happy new year and welcome to Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks. Welcome to all who are joining me for another round and all who are diving in for the first time.   The rules are very simple and the goal - Read 52 Books.  How you get there is up to you. 

We are going around the world again and to aid us in our venture, we have several optional challenges listed in the link bar above.  Our monthly itinerary may be found in Armchair Travels and Authors. Along the way, we are going to stop and spell the roses with Blossom Bookology, or entice your reading taste buds with another round of 52 Books Bingoas well as delve into mysteries with the Great Mysterious England Road Trip.  

You may decide to engage with the greats through the Well Educated Mind or Nobel Prize Winners of Literature,  or fly through the world of science fiction and fantasy with Mind Voyages  You may choose to read alphabetically with Alphabet Soup, finally dive into those dusty and chunky books that are probably yelling at you by now, or Feed Your Muse with poetry, essays and short stories.   As always, you may choose to travel along with me or follow your own path.  

Grab your walking shoes, backpack and maps as we begin our Open Roads Reading Adventure on the Silk Road which extends from the west coast of Japan to the Middle east. We'll begin our travels in Japan with our author choices of the month:   Haruki Murakami and Miyuki Miyabe.   

It has become a tradition to start our reading year with Haruki Murakami.  Join me in going back to his beginnings and read his debut Trilogy of the Rat -  Hear the Wind SingPinball, and A Wild Sheep Chase - or choose one of his other books if you've already read them. Learn more about Miyuki Miyabe and dive into her debut story, All She Was Worth or one of her many other novels.   I currently have her paranormal story The Gates of Sorrow waiting in the wings. 

Our Blossom Bookology's reading challenge begins in ancient times.  The flower of the month is Chrysanthemum which was cultivated in China in 15BC, brought to Japan in 8AD and became the symbol of the Japanese emperor and the imperial family, then introduced in 17th Century to the western world. It comes in a variety of colors and represents longevity and happiness.  

There are a number of directions to go with this challenge. You may choose to spell out the word, reading one book per letter using either the title and/or the first or last name of the author.  Yes, you can mix it up.  You may read a book with the name of the flower, color of the flower in the title or on the cover.  Another possibility is a book which takes place in the time period or flower's country of origin or has some cultural significance and/or symbolism of the flower.  The choices are unlimited.  Have fun following rabbit trails and see where it takes you. 

Cheers to a wonderful, flower filled, adventurous new reading year! 



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For the first week, link to your I'm participating post, reading plans or to your most current review. Please link to your specific  post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment telling us what you have been reading.   Every week I will put up  Mr. Linky which will close at the end of each book week.  No matter what book you are reading or reviewing at the time, whether it be # 1 or # 5 or so on, link to the current week's post.







Sunday, December 24, 2017

BW52: 2017 Reading Year Wrap Up

White House Book Tree 2013 


Merry Christmas to you and yours!  Our Adventurous Prime reading journey is drawing to a close.  Did you enjoy spelunking and digging up gems from around the world, uncovering polished stones as well as rough, blemished chunks of minerals just waiting to be revealed.  I had loads of fun searching for and reading new to me authors plus reading through series by favorite authors with the Birthstone Bookology challenge as well as delving into different centuries, countries, and genres with 52 Books Bingo.  




  • Where did your reading take you this year?
  • What was your reading goal for the year and did you meet or beat your personal goal?  Did you end with a prime number of reads?

  • Top 5 (or more) favorite reads?
  • Which book stayed with you the longest after finishing it?
  • Which book made you want to read it all over again?  
  • Which book did you think you were going to love, but didn't?
  • Which genres or authors you thought you'd never read and was pleasantly surprised to like them?
  • Which countries and time periods did you visit?
  • Which books or authors would you recommend everybody read? 
  • Which mini challenges did you enjoy? 
  • Please share favorite covers or quotes
  • And last, but not least, share your list of completed reads! 
 
Congratulations and thank you to everyone who joined in our 2017 adventurous reading year.    I'd also like to thank all who have followed our progress.  Are you ready to dive in yet?  *grin*  Whether you read fast or slow or listen to audio books;  read fluffy, light romances or heavy classics, comedy to drama, urban fantasies to thrillers, or nonfiction to comics, the most essential thing is reading.  


“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” 
~ Charles William Eliot


I have enjoyed sharing our reading journey and look forward to the new year and more bookish adventures.  

~Cheers to a blessed and happy reading new year!


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Link to your most current read and / or year end wrap up. Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post.




  


Sunday, December 17, 2017

BW51: Winter Solstice




Winter is coming!  Officially, Winter begins with the Solstice on December 21st.  Unofficially, with the falling temperatures, it's already began as we've been bundling up in several layers while we take our evening walks around the neighborhood. However, I do chicken out and abandon my poor hubby to the cold, curling up with a good book when it hits below 40.  Sometimes he'll join me in reading. Other days he's determined to get those 25,000 steps.  Brrr! 




A Winter Day

by

Lucy Maud Montgomery

The air is silent save where stirs 
A bugling breeze among the firs; 
The virgin world in white array 
Waits for the bridegroom kiss of day; 
All heaven blooms rarely in the east 
Where skies are silvery and fleeced, 
And o'er the orient hills made glad 
The morning comes in wonder clad; 
Oh, 'tis a time most fit to see 
How beautiful the dawn can be! 

Wide, sparkling fields snow-vestured lie 
Beneath a blue, unshadowed sky; 
A glistening splendor crowns the woods 
And bosky, whistling solitudes; 
In hemlock glen and reedy mere 
The tang of frost is sharp and clear;
Life hath a jollity and zest, 
A poignancy made manifest; 
Laughter and courage have their way 
At noontide of a winter's day.

Faint music rings in wold and dell, 
The tinkling of a distant bell, 
Where homestead lights with friendly glow 
Glimmer across the drifted snow; 
Beyond a valley dim and far 
Lit by an occidental star, 
Tall pines the marge of day beset 
Like many a slender minaret, 
Whence priest-like winds on crystal air 
Summon the reverent world to prayer. 


What wintry books are you contemplating for the season?  Are your characters heading into the arctic and going dog sledding or are they searching for a warm beach to watch the dolphins play. Hmm? Both sound fun.  

I have a mini winter challenge if you want to play.   

  • Read a book with Winter in the title
  • Read a book written by an author with first or last name of Winter
  • Spell out winter, reading one book for each letter.
  • Read a book by Lucy Maud Montgomery 
  • Pick any word out of the poem above and read a book with that word in the title.
  • Pick any word out of the poem above and spell out the word, reading one book per letter.
  • Read a book with a winter setting.  



Happy Reading! 



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Please link to your specific  post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment telling us what you have been reading.





Thursday, December 14, 2017

2018 52 Books in 52 Weeks






Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. 
They are the destination, and the journey. 
They are home.” ~  Anna Quindlen



Are you ready to join me for another round of reading 52 Books in 52 Weeks! Are you a monogamous reader who reads or listens to only one book at a time or are you more of a whimsical reader, dipping your toes into multiple books at once?  Do you have books gathering dust on your shelves that you haven't quite gotten round to yet? 52 Books is your official round tuit.  *grin* 

Do you have some old friends you'd really like to revisit? Now is the time. Dip into that classic or chunkster (over 500 pages) that's been calling out to you to read. Challenge yourself by exploring new to you authors, different genres.  Whether you are just joining in for the first time or continuing  for another round, the rules are very simple.   The goal is to read 52 books. How you get there is up to you. 

This year we'll be going around the world again. Join me on the open roads as we traverse the world from the Silk Road to the Roman Roads, across glaciers and seas, climb the Alps, explore the Middle East as well as trek through the Sahara desert.  Check out the Armchair Travels and Authors for our monthly itinerary. 

Plus Sandy and Amy from Well Trained Mind will be co-hosting the Great Mysterious England Road Trip,  a year long read of mysteries through the counties of England starting in February.    


We have a variety of challenges to assist with our reading voyage this year including another round of 52 Books Bingo with bonus 18 mystery squares. 

Blossom Bookology reading challenge:  Like flowers, books have a language all their own and fill up our senses, each with their own essence.  This challenge will take you around the world and engage your senses in a variety of ways.  Read one book for each letter in the name of the flower, with the flower in the title or set in the country where the flower originated.   

Dusty Mini challenge: Limit buying new books for 1 - 4 months and/or read 4 or more books that have been gathering dust on your shelves prior to 2018.

Chunky Mini Challenge -  books more than 500 pages.

Well Educated Mind (perpetual):  Continuing exploring the classics in 6 categories: Fiction, Autobiography, History/Politics, Drama, Poetry and Science. 

Mind Voyages (perpetual):  a science fiction / fantasy challenge to explore the Hugo and Nebula winners, take side trips through the different decades reading the nominees.


The mini, weekly and monthly challenges are all optional, Mix them up anyway you like.

So grab your backpacks and walking shoes - don't forget your hat - and let's get started.



  • The challenge will run from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018. 
  • Our book weeks begin on Sunday. 
  • Participants may join at any time. 
  • All books are acceptable including comic books and graphic novels. 
  • All forms of books are acceptable including e-books, audio books, etc. 
  • Re-reads are acceptable as long as they are read after January 1, 2018. 
  • Books may overlap other challenges. 
  • Create an entry post linking to this blog. 
  • Sign up with Mr. Linky in the "I'm participating post" 
  • You don't need a blog to participate. Post your weekly book in the comments section of each weekly post. 
  • Mr. Linky will be added to the bottom of the weekly post to link to reviews of your most current reads.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

BW50: Eating and reading through the holidays



It's time to start cooking!  December is a time of celebration  which means baking and experimenting with different recipes as well as making or remaking of the old standards. Years ago, my son and I read How to Make an Apple Pie and see the world by Majorie Priceman.  After reading the book, we followed the recipe in the back.  Such simple ingredients --- apples, cinnamon, sugar, salt, butter -- which when mixed together, created the world's best apple pie.  Absolutely delish.  

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take one of your favorite recipes and read a book with the one of the ingredients in the title. Or choose one of your favorite cookbooks and read a book with one of the colors that is on the cover. 

In the meantime, while your house is filling up with appetizing aromas and you are waiting for the timer to ding, check out a few scrumptious finds:

Foodie books for every eater and reader on your Christmas List.

Taste of Home Christmas 2017

27 Books Every Foodie Needs In Their Library

Best Food Focused Memoirs

10 of the best new cookbooks in 2017


“Give two cooks the same ingredients and the same recipe; it is fascinating to observe how, like handwriting, their results differ. After you cook a dish repeatedly, you begin to understand it. Then you can reinvent it a bit and make it yours. A written recipe can be useful, but sometimes the notes scribbled in the margin are the key to a superlative rendition. Each new version may inspire improvisation based on fresh understanding. It doesn't have to be as dramatic as all that, but such exciting minor epiphanies keep cooking lively.”   ~  David Tanis, Heart of the Artichoke: and Other Kitchen Journeys


Happy Cooking!


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Please link to your specific  post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment telling us what you have been reading.



Sunday, December 3, 2017

BW49: Delightful December


Gerardus Mercator's Map of the North Pole 1595


Welcome to Delightful December and our birthstone of the month, Turquoise.  We have much to celebrate this month with St. Nicholas Day, Advent, Hanukkah, St. Lucia Day, Christmas, arrival of Winter as well as Festivus for the rest of us, Iceland's Jolabokaflod, Sweden's Julbok (Yule goat) and Finland's Joulupukki.  I'm in the mood to go to the North Pole and do some cooking with Mrs  Claus.




If cold December gave you birth—
The month of snow, and ice, and mirth—
Place on your hand a turquoise blue,
Success will bless whate'er you do.
~Author unknown, "A Gem for Every Month," c.1883


Speaking of Turquoise, our birthstone of the month, you may choose to spell out the word, reading one book per letter or read a book with the name or the colors of the stone in the title.  Perhaps find an author whose name is Topaz or spell out the word using author names.   You may decide to find a book set in the time period where the birthstone was discovered or surrounding the myth and lore or set in countries where the birthstone is currently found.


This month, I think I'll join Harold and his purple crayon as he goes in search of the north pole in Harold at the North Pole.  


Unfortunately we won't find any penguins there, but we may find the occasional polar bear, ringed seals and Arctic foxes roaming about.   

You may want to bundle up before you read about Arctic expeditions to the North Pole with Hampton Sides - In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette or Bruce Henderson's  True North:  Peary, Cook, and the Race to the Pole as well as  Fatal North: Murder and Survival on the First North Pole Expedition

Or take a thrilling fictional trip with Alistair MacLean in Ice Station Zebra, Jack London in Call of the Wild or Lincoln Child's Terminal Freeze.  Read more about the North Pole in the New Yorker's Literature's Arctic Obsession and Ali Shaw's The Written World: The North Pole

Be sure to check out Goodread's list of Popular Arctic books as well as the Listopia of North Pole books.

Have fun exploring!  

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Please link to your specific  post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment telling us what you have been reading.





Sunday, November 26, 2017

BW48: Bookish notes and birthdays



As November winds down, it is time for another round of Bookish Notes and Birthdays!



A Wave of New Fiction from Nigeria: As Young Writers Experiment with Genre

Dawn Watch Explores The Life And Legacy Of Joseph Conrad

2017 Costa Book Awards Shortlist Announced

SBTB's Covers and Cocktails: Southern Hospitality

YA Books That Feature Sisters

Best Multicultural and Diverse Books about or featuring a variety of cultures.

Artist Andrew DeGraff on Cinemaps: an Atlas of 35 Great Movies

Upcoming Television Mystery Movies for December 2017  - ideas for movies to books reading.



Author Birthdays this week:  

11/26 -  William Cowper and Eugene Ionesco 

11/27 -  James Agee and Gail Sheehy

11/28 -  John Bunyan and William Blake

11/29 -  C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, Louisa May Alcott

11/30 -  Jonathan Swift and Mark Twain 

12/01 -  Rex Stout and Charles Finney

12/02 -  Elizabeth Berg and Ann Patchett



“In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.”   ― Mark Twain


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Please link to your specific  post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment telling us what you have been reading.





Sunday, November 19, 2017

BW47: Happy Thanksgiving

Courtesy of Mommy's Playbook

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.   I  have much to be grateful for and remember this week as our family gathers together this week to celebrate  birthdays, anniversaries and those who have gone on to eternal rest.  I am also thankful for each and every one of you who has joined our 52 Book a Week family of readers.  And yes, I'm thankful for books.  

And since we all have a cornucopia of books, read a book from your shelves or perhaps from the library this week: 


  • Has Thanksgiving in the title or any variation of thanks
  • about gratitude
  • has Thursday or the number 23 in the title 
  • Any of the symbols or synonyms of Thanksgiving
  • with Thanksgiving as the theme
  • with a turkey on the cover
  • a book with food and/or beverage on the cover
  • with a cornucopia on the cover 
  • any of the colors of the fall harvest
  • a book about food or drink
  • a book that takes place in England or New England States - Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island


Have fun following rabbit trails. What are you grateful for this week?


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Please link to your specific  post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment telling us what you have been reading.