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, September 23, 2018

BW39: September Equinox



Courtesy of imagenes hermosas de todo tipo 

Fall, leaves, Fall
by

 Emily Bronte 
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Autumn is upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere. My favorite time of year. The trees painted with burnished colors of yellow, gold, purple, and oranges. Leaves crackle and crunch underfoot during our daily walks. Crisp cool breezes mix with barbecues, football games and laughter. The promise of rain. Joy is in the air.  It is the perfect time to read a foodie book or experiment with new recipes or modify an old one.  It's also time to for a mini challenge: Read a book about the season. 

Find a book with Autumn, fall, season, equinox, September, moon, night, clock or axis on the cover.  Or with one leaf on the cover, the color of leaves, or in the title.  I think there are about 25 different types of apples including Fuji, Lady, McIntosh and Liberty. Read a book with a type of Apple in the title or one with an apple on the cover.  Even one about an apple.  This is usually the time of year I pull out How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World which has a great apple pie recipe in the back of the book. Delicious. Plus lots of ideas for rabbit trails.  Have fun brainstorming and follow lots of rabbit trails as you explore the Autumn season.  Or Spring if you live in the Southern Hemisphere.  


Brit Trip

This week we're traveling Watling Way to Sussex.  A.A. Milne lived for much of his adult life in Sussex and his Hundred Acre Woods is based upon Ashdown Forest.



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Sunday, September 16, 2018

BW38: To a Young Lady, With Some Lampreys

Courtesy of The Famous People

In honor of the John Gay, an English burlesque poet and dramatist, born September 16, 1685



To a Young Lady, With Some Lampreys

BY 

JOHN GAY


With lovers, ’twas of old the fashion 
By presents to convey their passion; 
No matter what the gift they sent, 
The Lady saw that love was meant. 
Fair Atalanta, as a favour, 
Took the boar’s head her Hero gave her; 
Nor could the bristly thing affront her, 
’Twas a fit present from a hunter. 
When Squires send woodcocks to the dame, 
It serves to show their absent flame: 
Some by a snip of woven hair, 
In posied lockets bribe the fair; 
How many mercenary matches 
Have sprung from Di’mond-rings and watches! 
But hold – a ring, a watch, a locket, 
Would drain at once a Poet’s pocket; 
He should send songs that cost him nought, 
Nor ev’n he prodigal of thought. 
Why then send Lampreys? fye, for shame! 
’Twill set a virgin’s blood on flame. 
This to fifteen a proper gift! 
It might lend sixty five a lift. 
I know your maiden Aunt will scold, 
And think my present somewhat bold. 
I see her lift her hands and eyes. 
‘What eat it, Niece? eat Spanish flies! 
‘Lamprey’s a most immodest diet: 
‘You’ll neither wake nor sleep in quiet. 
‘Should I to night eat Sago cream, 
‘’Twould make me blush to tell my dream; 
‘If I eat Lobster, ’tis so warming, 
‘That ev’ry man I see looks charming; 
‘Wherefore had not the filthy fellow 
‘Laid Rochester upon your pillow? 
‘I vow and swear, I think the present 
‘Had been as modest and as decent. 
‘Who has her virtue in her power? 
‘Each day has its unguarded hour; 
‘Always in danger of undoing, 
‘A prawn, a shrimp may prove our ruin! 
‘The shepherdess, who lives on salad, 
‘To cool her youth, controuls her palate; 
‘Should Dian’s maids turn liqu’rish livers, 
‘And of huge lampreys rob the rivers, 
‘Then all beside each glade and Visto, 
‘You’d see Nymphs lying like Calisto. 
‘The man who meant to heat your blood, 
‘Needs not himself such vicious food –’ 
In this, I own, your Aunt is clear, 
I sent you what I well might spare: 
For when I see you, (without joking) 
Your eyes, lips, breasts, are so provoking, 
They set my heart more cock-a-hoop, 
Than could whole seas of craw-fish soupe.

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Brit Trip

This week,we begin our final Roman road on Watling Way in Kent! Another jewel of England with a rich history of peace and war. It’s the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England. On clear days possible to see France from the cliffs which led to it being the site of the Battle of Britain during WWII. 

Rabbit trails: Leeds Castle, Wilkie CollinsJocelyn BrookeWartime TunnelsIan Fleming, Channel TunnelDickens




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Sunday, September 9, 2018

BW37: Bookish News and Birthdays

The Astronomy Lesson - Steven Seward 


Time for another round of Book News from the Sahara Desert region and Bookish Birthdays from around the world 

Poetry Soup, and other North African Creatives to Watch

The Book of North African Literature: Pierre Joris on Poetry and Miscegenation

The four best African cookbooks that will have you cooking like a pro

From Tradition to Destruction: The Lost Libraries of Chinguetti

Best Books to read about Egypt before you go

Literature Unchained: The Literary Scene in Tunisia Post-2011

Countries and their cultures - Mauritanians




Author Birthdays from around the world

Sept 9:  Father of modern Hindi literature - Bharatendu Harishchandra

Sept 10:  African American Poet and Harlem Renaissance writer - Georgia Douglas Johnson and American poet and leader of the Imagist movement - Hilda Doolittle

Sept 11:  Scottish Poet - James Thomson 

Sept 12: Polish science fiction author - Stanislaw Lem 

Sept 13: British author - J.B. Priestley 

Sept 14: Irish author - Bernard MacLaverty

Sept 15: American writer - Tomie dePaola 



Brit Tripping

Our Brit Trip on Akeman Street is taking us to Somerset this week.

Somerset County is famous among Regency enthusiasts as the location of Bath and was a fashionable place to take the waters. It also has a vast Roman history and Arthurian link.


Have fun exploring! 

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

BW36: Nomadic September in the heat

Sahara Desert - Courtesy of Bon Traveler

Welcome to Nomadic September where we will journey through the Sahara, the world's third largest desert in search of adventure. The Sahara measures 3,320,000 square miles in Northern Africa, stretching from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, and runs through Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Western Sahara, Sudan and Tunisia. From the ancients to the culture and politics of the present, there are many rabbit trails to enjoy.



Sahara Desert 

By 



Falling in barren plains
No traces of rain in arid lands
Only footprints of spirits
Haunting their own shadows
Begging the questions
Left unanswered
By words buried into cracks

Under the unforgiving sun
And burning heat
Of the Sahara Desert
Even a cactus will bloom 
For a day and then it's done
None escape the desolate wilderness
The undulating waves of sand

Nothing but the echoes
Of passing storms
And the sounds of thunder
Remain above the surface
Of the vast emptiness


We'll also follow in the footsteps of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and/or Chinua Achebe. We'll learn more about both these fabulous authors as Chimamanda reminisces about the coincidence of growing up in Achebe's house as well as discussing Chinua Achebe at 82: “We Remember Differently”

The Blossom Bookology flower of the month is the Egyptian Lotus which is the the national flower of Egypt. You need only spell out Lotus. There are a number of directions to go for this month's challenge. Read 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.


For those on the Brit Trip bus, our journey on Akeman Street is taking us to Wiltshire. Wiltshire has an interesting history with canals as a method of transportation, the predecessor to trains for mass goods transportation.

Rabbit trails: Wilton Windmill.


Have fun exploring!


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Sunday, August 26, 2018

BW35: Sigrid Unset and the Kristin Lavransdatter readalong

Sigrid Unset - Courtesy of wikipedia


Sigrid Unset, born May 20, 1882, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. During the presentation speech, by the chairman of the nobel committee,  Per Hallstrom said of Unset's works:  

"Her narrative is vigorous, sweeping, and at times heavy. It rolls on like a river, ceaselessly receiving new tributaries whose course the author also describes, at the risk of overtaxing the reader’s memory. This stems in part from the very nature of the subject. In the series of generations, conflicts and destinies assume a very concentrated form; these are whole masses of clouds which collide when the lightning flashes. However, this heaviness is also a result of the author’s ardent and instant imagination, forming a scene and a dialogue of each incident in the narrative without taking the necessary backward look at the general perspective. And the vast river, whose course is difficult to embrace comprehensively, rolls its powerful waves which carry along the reader, plunged into a sort of torpor. 

But the roaring of its waters has the eternal freshness of nature. In the rapids and in the falls, the reader finds the enchantment which emanates from the power of the elements, as in the vast mirror of the lakes he notices a reflection of immensity, with the vision there of all possible greatness in human nature. Then, when the river reaches the sea, when Kristin Lavransdatter has fought to the end the battle of her life, no one complains of the length of the course which accumulated so overwhelming a depth and profundity in her destiny. In the poetry of all times, there are few scenes of comparable excellence."

Unset wrote a number of historical fiction novels including the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy - The Wreath, The Wife, and The Cross








Which are available individually or in the complete Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy edition translated by Tina Nunnally




"In her great historical epic Kristin Lavransdatter, set in fourteenth-century Norway, Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset tells the life story of one passionate and headstrong woman. Painting a richly detailed backdrop, Undset immerses readers in the day-to-day life, social conventions, and political and religious undercurrents of the period. Now in one volume, Tina Nunnally's award-winning definitive translation brings this remarkable work to life with clarity and lyrical beauty.

As a young girl, Kristin is deeply devoted to her father, a kind and courageous man. But when as a student in a convent school she meets the charming and impetuous Erlend Nikulaussøn, she defies her parents in pursuit of her own desires. Her saga continues through her marriage to Erlend, their tumultuous life together raising seven sons as Erlend seeks to strengthen his political influence, and finally their estrangement as the world around them tumbles into uncertainty.

With its captivating heroine and emotional potency, Kristin Lavransdatter is the masterwork of Norway's most beloved author, one of the twentieth century's most prodigious and engaged literary minds and, in Nunnally's exquisite translation, a story that continues to enthrall."


A number of Well Trained Mind 52 Books readers are taking the plunge with Unset's Kristin Lavrandatter trilogy  and we will begin  on September 2nd.  Grab your hubbies and get them reading along as well.  Tyler Blanski of the Catholic Gentleman in his enthusiasm for the story asks "Are you Lavrans, or are you Erlend?"

We're going to take it slowly with plenty of time built in to talk about the story.  Each book has three parts and vary in length from 92 to 160 pages approximately. We'll read one part a week with an extra week or two thrown in for variations in chapter length in Book three if needed, plus reading speed and discussion.  


Book One -The Wreath
Part I  – Jorungaard   Ch 1 to 7 ( 92 pages)
Part II – The Wreath      Ch 1 – 8 (92 pages)
Part III – Lavrans Bjorgulfson  Ch 1 – 8  (100 Pages)

Book two – The Wife
Part I – The Fruit of Sin  Ch 1 – 6  (114 pages)
Part II – Husaby  Ch 1-  8 (158)
Part III – Erlend Nikulausson Ch 1 – 7 (126 pages)

Book Three – The Cross
Part 1 – Honor Among Kin  Ch 1 – 6  ( 116 pages)
Part II – Debtors  Ch 1 – 8 (160 pages)
Part III – The Cross  Ch 1 – 7 (140 pages) 

Join me in reading Kristin Lavransdatter. 


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Sunday, August 19, 2018

BW34: The First Jasmines



Courtesy of Wikipedia


The First Jasmines

by




Ah, these jasmines, these white jasmines!
I seem to remember the first day when I filled my hands with
these jasmines, these white jasmines.
I have loved the sunlight, the sky and the green earth;
I have heard the liquid murmur of the river thorough the
darkness of midnight;
Autumn sunsets have come to me at the bend of a road in the
lonely waste, like a bride raising her veil to accept her lover.
Yet my memory is still sweet with the first white jasmines
that I held in my hands when I was a child.
Many a glad day has come in my life, and I have laughed with
merrymakers on festival nights.
On grey mornings of rain I have crooned many an idle song.
I have worn round my neck the evening wreath of bakulas woven
by the hand of love.
Yet my heart is sweet with the memory of the first fresh
jasmines that filled my hands when I was a child.

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Our Brit Trip is taking us to Akemam Street and London. Our fifth leg of the journey brings us back to London again.

Rabbit trails: 48 Doughty Street – Charles Dickens, British Museum , British Library


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Sunday, August 12, 2018

BW33: Hugo Gernsback



This week, we are celebrating the anniversary of the birthday of Hugo Gernsback who was born August 16, 1884. 

Hugo Gernsbacher was born in Luxembourg and immigrated to the United States in 1904.  He was fascinated by electricity and invented a dry battery which he patented upon arriving in the United States.   He established a radio and electrical supply house called Electro Importing Company and developed a small portable radio transmitter called the Telimco Wireless Telegraph.    He went on to patent 80 inventions.

Gernsback  published a magazine for electrical experimenters called Modern Electronics which was later taken over by Popular Science.   To fill up some empty space in the magazine, he decided to write a futuristic story which ran in 12 installments. The story named Ralph 124C 41+ was later published in 1926. It was set in the 27th century and is still available today.  

He started a number of magazines including the first magazine dedicated exclusively to science fiction called  Amazing Stories in 1926.  Hugo coined the term scientifiction which later went on to be known as Science Fiction.

He unfortunately went bankrupt and lost control of Amazing Stories. He quickly bounced back and went on to publish three more magazines:  Air Wonder Stories, Science Wonder Stories and Science Wonder Quarterly.  Air Wonder and Science Wonder were merged into one magazine Wonder stories in 1930 and sold it in 1936 to Beacon Publications where it continued to be published for 20 more years.  Digital copies of Amazing Stories, Air Wonder, Science Wonder, and Wonder magazines are available to view through the Pulp Magazines Project. 

Gernsback is lauded as one of the fathers of science fiction. In 1960 he was given a special Hugo Award as The Father of Magazine Science FictionThe award were unofficially called the Hugo's until the name was officially changed beginning in 1993. 

Hugo Gernsback died in New York on August 19, 1967 at the age 83.  


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Our Brit Trip is continuing in Lincolnshire. Sir Issac Newton was born and educated in Lincolnshire at Woolsthorpe Manor.  Rabbit trails: Harlaxton Manor/College

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Sunday, August 5, 2018

BW32: Blind date with a book



Happy Sunday!   This month we are going on a blind date with a book.  Your mission is to go on an adventure to the library or book store in search of a new book.    You may also use the internet by doing a google image search for  book covers.   Or play along using your home shelves if short of funds or time.

At the book store, pick a random book based on its position on the shelf.  To choose a book: decide in advance  (1) Genre, (2)  two number between 1 and 5, and (3) one number between 1 and 30. Using these numbers, find the chosen Genre in the book store or library, count over certain number of sections in the aisle, go down that number of shelves and count to the 3rd number and that's the book you'll get.  I'll be going to Barnes and Noble sometime this week and will let you know what I find.

I did a random search on google and these books attracted my attention: 








Spread your reading wings a bit and chose a genre you don't normally read. 


Our Brit Trip is taking us to Derbyshire this week: Derbyshire is primarily a rural county that boasts being the location of many pop culture references including – the home of Pemberly, the location for Georgette Heyer’s novel The Toll-Gate, and the filming location of The Princess Bride.




Have fun exploring!


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Sunday, July 29, 2018

BW31: August trek around the Middle East

Courtesy of Kidspast World History


Time to say goodbye to July as we descend from the Alps for an August Trek around the Middle East.  We are going to wander through the fertile crescent which curves through the Middle East from the Persian Gulf, through southern Iraq, encompasses ancient Mesopotamia between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, and continues through Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, to the Nile River in Southern Egypt

We are going to follow in the literary footsteps of two Egyptian authors:  Naguib Mahfouz who won the Nobel prize for Literature in 1988 as well as writer Nawal El Saadawithe voice of Egyptian feminism.  

From the ancients to the present, there are plenty of literary rabbit trails to explore from Off the Shelf's Six Novels, No Packing,  Goodread's Popular Middle East Fiction and Nonfiction, to ThoughtCo's 10 Indispensable Books on the Middle East

Our Blossom Bookology flower of the month is Jasmine which the people of Syria consider their national flower.  There are a number of directions to go for this month's challenge.  Read 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.

Our Brit Trip is taking us to Leicestershire this week.  Leicestershire holds an interesting spot as being the origins of things we think of as classically English– fox hunting, Taylor’s Bell Foundry, stilton and red Leicester cheese, and pork pies. It is also where King Richard III met his Bosworth.


Have fun exploring!  

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

BW30: Bookish Birthdays and News




It's time for another round of bookish birthdays and interesting book news!

The 32nd winner of the Arthur C Clarke Science Fiction award is  Anne Charnock for her novel Dreams Before the Start of Time. 

Check out the next generation of Instant Pot Cookbooks.

The Man Booker Prize just celebrated its 50th anniversary and awarded the Golden Man Booker Prize to Michael Ondaatje for The English Patient. 

Barnes and Noble's reads present 10 Books That Will Make You Smarter in Every Way

Debbie Macomber, one of my favorite authors, shares her summer reading list. 

The Conversation's Playing Detective with Canada's Female Literary Past.




Author Birthdays 

July 22 -  Emma Lazarus, whose poetry is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty:


The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


July 23 - Mystery Writer Raymond Chandler and literary novelist John Nichols .

July 24 - French author Alexander Dumas and Danish Author Henrik Pontoppidan who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1917.

July 25 -  American novelist Robyn Carr and  Bulgarian Elias Canetti who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981.

July 26 -  Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925 as well as English writer Aldous Huxley

July 27 - Italian Poet Giosuè Carducci who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1906 as well as Anglo-French poet Hilaire Belloc.

July 28 - English writer Beatrix Potter  and victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins


Our Brit Trip is taking us to Gloucestershire this week:  

Gloucestershire is the picturesque home to the Cotswold towns and villages. The area is also the country residence of Princes Charles at Highgrove.


Have fun following rabbit trails this week! 

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

BW29: Sonnet by Alice Moore Dunbar Nelson

Courtesy of Blackpast.org



Sonnet

by

July 19, 1875 - September 18, 1935


I had not thought of violets late,
The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet
In wistful April days, when lovers mate
And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.
The thought of violets meant florists' shops,
And bows and pins, and perfumed papers fine;
And garish lights, and mincing little fops
And cabarets and soaps, and deadening wines.
So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,
I had forgot wide fields; and clear brown streams;
The perfect loveliness that God has made,—
Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.
And now—unwittingly, you've made me dream
Of violets, and my soul's forgotten gleam.


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This week our Brit Trip is taking us for second visit to Dorset.  During WWII its location allowed it to be involved in the preparations for the Normandy Beach invasion.

Rabbit trails: Exercise Tiger


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