Sunday, December 31, 2017



Welcome to the 2017 Read 52 Books in 52 Week Challenge


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


The rules are very simple and the goal - read one book a week for 52 weeks.



  • The challenge will run from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017. 
  • Our book weeks will begin on Sunday 
  • 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, 2017 
  • 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 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, April 23, 2017

BW17: Book News and Notes

Courtesy of Inspiring Life


Today is World Book day, promoted by UNESCO and held in honor of several authors who died on this date including Miguel De Cervantes, William Shakespeare, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.

The Cervantes Prize, in honor of Miguel is awarded this day by the Spanish Ministry of Culture. Founded in 1976, it is the most prestigious prize to “honor the lifetime achievement of a Spanish Language writer whose contribution to the Hispanic Cultural Heritage has been decisive.”

In England, fans of William Shakespeare celebrate his life as well as St. George, the country's patron saint.

National Poetry month is winding up and Thursday, April 27th is Poem in Your Pocket day. Select a poem, carry it in your pocket, purse, book, backpack or whatever else is handy and share it with your family, friends and neighbors.

The Man Booker prize which celebrates translated fiction works from around the world announced the International Shortlist for 2017 and the nominees are:





The 2017 Stella Prize, celebrates fiction or non fiction written by Australian women and has been awarded to Heather Rose for her novel The Museum of Modern Love which is available on Kindle. 


More author birthdays:

April 23rd:  Icelandic author - Halldor Laxness and Russian author - Vladimir Nabokov

April 24th: English authors Daniel Defoe, Anthony Trollope and Elizabeth Goudge as well as mystery writer Sue Grafton

April 25th: English poet - Walter De La Mare and southern author Padgett Powell

April 26th: Philosophers Marcus Aurelius and David Hume

April 27th: Historian Edward Gibbon and poet Cecil Day Lewis

April 28th: Harper Lee, Terry Pratchett and Lois Duncan

April 29th: Gilbert Rocque and Yusef Komunyakaa

Have fun following rabbit trails and share a book or two or three! 


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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.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

BW16: Homonym and synonym challenge



Happy Sunday and Happy Easter to all who celebrate.  I have homonyms on my brain today as my brain wonders about the wonders of words as we wander through this universe we call earth.    Think about words spelled the same or that sound the same but have different meanings. Such as  son and sun, write and right, tale and tail, night and knight, coarse and course, medal and meddle,  cache and cash.   How we may fold our clothes or fold at cards.  Go to court or give permission to the boy next door to court your daughter.  Do you need to bail out the boat or bail out your brother.   Are you here or can you hear what is happening or are you searching for the South Pole or your fishing pole?  Where on earth am I going with this, you ask?  I don't know as I've lost my train of thought. It's gone off the rails...


Oh yes, I have a mini challenge for you!

Think about words relating to Easter and/or Passover. Spiritual or secular words related to the occasion or Sundayish.   Then read a book with that word or words in the title.  At first I picked a variety of words and had fun following rabbit trails as I also looked up synonyms for each word. Then I went back to the simple and chose light which lead me to Louise Penny's # 7 in her Inspector Gamache series, A Trick of the Light which I've been wanting to read for a while.




As well as Jayne Ann Krentz's paranormal suspense - Light in Shadow.  Both of which are now in my virtual stacks.  *grin*





Join me in the Homonym challenge and have fun following rabbit trails!

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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.






Sunday, April 9, 2017

BW15: Armchair traveling through India




My armchair travels took me to India this week. I discovered the caves of Meghalaya while exploring and searching for diamonds, and ended up following a variety of rabbit trails through India. I enjoy epic novels delving into the history of India and was quite pleased to discover M.M. Kaye's The Far Pavilions:





Ashton Pelham-Martyn's parents die young. He is raised primarily by a Hindu hill-woman who dies, too, a few years later while the two are fleeing from one deadly peril while another one, the 1857 Sepoy Rebellion, drenches the land around them in blood. By a stroke of fortune, good or bad, his English identity is at last discovered, and he is whisked away to aristocratic relations in England who see to it that he can never again think of himself as wholly Indian. Nor will he ever be accepted as truly English. On his return to India as a new Army recruit looking forward to "soldiering among the wild hills of the North-West Frontier," 122 pages of the novel have slipped past, but it's only just beginning. Yet to come are a dangerous trek escorting a native bridal party across India, a forbidden love affair, and a harrowing effort to warn the British authorities against meddling in Afghanistan, a land Ash understands better than his "superiors" do. The last few chapters find him in Kabul in 1879 during the Second Anglo-Afghan War and feature a heroic last stand by an undermanned British garrison.

That one may take a while to read.  Somehow that lead to Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and her magical realism story - The Mistress of Spices which is quite intriguing.  




A classic work of magical realism, this bestselling novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni tells the story of Tilo, a young woman from another time who has a gift for the mystical art of spices.  Now immortal, and living in the gnarled and arthritic body of an old woman, Tilo has set up shop in Oakland, California, where she administers curatives to her customers.  But when she's surprised by an unexpected romance with a handsome stranger, she must choose between everlasting life and the vicissitudes of modern society.
Divakaruni newest book Before We Visit the Goddess in which she explores the relationship between mothers and daughters is currently available in India and is coming out April 25th in the U.S. 

One particular bunny trail introduced Tarquin Hall and his character Vish Puri, India's most private investigator in the Case of the Missing Servant which is now waiting in my virtual stacks right after I finish reading Mistress of Spices.    





Meet Vish Puri, India’s most private investigator. Portly, persistent, and unmistakably Punjabi, he cuts a determined swath through modern India’s swindlers, cheats, and murderers.   In hot and dusty Delhi, where call centers and malls are changing the ancient fabric of Indian life, Puri’s main work comes from screening prospective marriage partners, a job once the preserve of aunties and family priests. But when an honest public litigator is accused of murdering his maidservant, it takes all of Puri’s resources to investigate. With his team of undercover operatives—Tubelight, Flush, and Facecream—Puri combines modern techniques with principles of detection established in India more than two thousand years ago, and reveals modern India in all its seething complexity.


Non fiction wise, there are plenty of trails to follow from ancient dynasties to the partition of India to culture and traditions to Indian cuisine.  Check out Lonely Planet travel guides as well as Goodreads popular non fiction books, Culture Trip's 10 Best Bookbooks for Traditional Indian food, and 10 Must Read books on Indian History.

Have fun following rabbit trails! 

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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.



Sunday, April 2, 2017

BW14: Artistic April

How Diamonds are extracted


We are saying a fond farewell to March and giving an enthusiastic hello to Artistic April.  Not only is it National Poetry Month, it is also a time to celebrate Easter as well as Autism Awareness, and  Earth Day.  We have a variety of daily celebrations including April fool's, Children's book day, School Librarian day, national Tartan day and Scrabble day.  Plus a few wacky days such as Sorry Charlie, No housework day, Walk Around things, and National cheeseball day.

The Birthstone of the month is Diamond. 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.  Or perhaps find an author whose name is Diamond.  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.

Diamonds were first discovered during 4th century in India's rivers and streams and believed to be the only source for diamonds and traded along the Silk road between India and China.  Then gold miners discovered diamonds in Brazil in the 1700's and dominated the market until the 1800's when a large deposit of diamonds were found along the Orange River in Africa.  Presently, diamonds are mined in Australia, Russia, China, Africa, parts of South America and Canada.  They are a symbol of love, strength, clarity and truth and believed to have metaphysical properties of energy and vision.

We are going to follow the path of the diamonds so our armchair travels are taking us east of the Prime Meridian. You have a wide variety to choose from this month as you travel the trail of diamonds from Antwerp to Argyle. Follow the Silk Road, explore Africa more in depth and delve into the history of conflict diamonds,  visit Australia, or dive into historical fiction set in Russia. Have fun following rabbit trails.

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. 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, March 26, 2017

BW13: Happy Birthday Robert Frost


I'm out doing the family thing, my father and all my sisters gathered from near and far to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, while we tramp together, here and there and everywhere.   Today is the anniversary of Robert Frost's birthday and since he is one of my favorite poets, I'll leave you with you with one of his poems.



A Prayer in Spring

By 

Robert Frost 

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,

But which it only needs that we fulfill.

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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.




Sunday, March 19, 2017

BW12: March Equinox


Splash of Spring by Karen Hale

Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener
seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer. ~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth



Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. ~ Albert Camus



Spring is in the air in the Northern Hemisphere and Autumn in the Southern side of the world. Nature's paint palette,  combines rich, deep and bold colors with brilliant hues to entertain the eye.  Just imagine the synergism as we blend the seasons to enrich our reading as well as our bookshelves.  

Dive into your trusty thesaurus to look for words that speak to you of either autumn and spring.  Mix them together to discover a new read or revisit an old friend.  

A random pick of cozy earth on Amazon brings up P. Bodi's Mountain Earth's Kitchen Cozy Mystery Series.   Hope orange resulted in Irene Hannon's   Hope Harbor series as well as RaeAnne Thayne's Hope Crossing series.  Blue leaf resulted in Lynn Truss's fabulous and fun book -  Eats, Shoots and Leaves: A Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.  If you haven't read it yet, now is the time.  

Add another layer to include our theme of the month with mystery or nordic authors and see what comes up.  Cozy mysteries are always fun to curl up with when you need something light. Spring brings to mind Debbie Macomber and her Blossom Street or Cedar Cove series.  Check out Cozy Mysteries Unlimited for Spring themed and Fall themed reads.

Try something completely new and delve into the symbolism or magic of the Equinox with Danu Forest's Magic Of ebooks.  

While you are having fun following rabbit trails, don't forget to check out Goodreads Best Books for Spring reading as well as PW's Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2017

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.   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, March 12, 2017

BW11: Happy St. Patrick's Week





We'll be celebrating St. Patrick's day all week long and instead of loading your wishlists down with more books, your mission is to find a book on your shelves that has a green cover or has green in the title. Sláinte!!!





Today is the day fer the wearin' o' the green.
Today is the day when the little people are seen.
Today is St. Patrick's Day, so if ye'r Irish me lad,
Join the celebratin' fer the grandest time ta' be had.

Ya' put yer hand up in the air, the other hand on your hip.
Ya' tap yer toe, ya' tap yer heel, ya' bounce yer knee a wee bit.
Ya' prance 'n dance around the room, n' circle one two three.
The saints be praised, I must admit, ya' all look Irish ta' me.

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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.










Sunday, March 5, 2017

BW10: Mystery March

Aquamarine Dragon by Molly Harrison

Bye bye February and hello Mystery March. We are ready to embrace Spring (or Autumn depending on which hemisphere you are in) in all its glory, dive into Aquamarine Dreams and by mystified by suspenseful and enthralling international crime fiction. Yes, we are leaving South America behind and heading to the Nordic Region.


The birthstone of the month is Aquamarine.  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.  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. 

Aquamarine is Latin for seawater.  Aqua for water and marine for of the sea. Which may lead you to a sea worthy book and is the green blue to blue color of the mineral Beryl.  Perhaps a book written by an author named Beryl?  The  gemstone is mainly mined in Brazil, but also in Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Russia. Historically, Roman fisherman believed the stone provided them with abundant fish.  Egyptians and Sumerians believed the stone was a symbol of happiness and everlasting youth.    Sailors carved the stone into amulets representing Neptune and believed it protected them while at sea.  In the 1300's, it was thought to be an antidote to poison. 



Courtesy of Hansjom - wikipedia

Our armchair travels are taking us north to the Nordic Region of the world which includes Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden as well as the Faroe and Aland Islands.  We will be exploring as well as delving into books written by authors from the region.  Whether you are into crime fiction or noir, you have a number of authors to chose from rather than just one author flavor of the month.   For everything you always wanted to know about Scandinavian crime fiction as well as movies, vikings and travel,  check out Scandinavian Books.  Narrow it  down a bit to the most popular, rising stars, or the women. If crime fiction isn't your thing, check out books set in or about Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark,  Finland,  and Greenland

As you can see, there are plenty of rabbit trails to follow this month.  Happy 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.   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, February 26, 2017

BW9: Fairy Tales aren't just for Children




I have a special guest post for you this week.  Robyn (Crstarlette) from the Well Trained Mind 52 Books group, is here to talk about Fairy tales that aren't just for children and entice us into joining her in reading From the Beast to the Blonde by Marina Warner.


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We all know that fairy tales are not just for children. In Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tales, Marina Warner says of the Grimm Brothers and their tales:

In 1812, the first edition of their anthology, comprising eighty-six stories, came out in an edition of 600, with an apparatus of notes running to hundreds of pages. It was not really intended to be read for pleasure at all by the children and households of its title; it was a learned work setting out to reconfigure the cultural history of Germany along lines that would emancipate it from the monopoly of classical and French superiority.

Earlier, in the seventeenth century, upper-class women gathered in French salons and retold folk tales, each trying to make the tale sound as if the teller were just making it up in the moment and, through the tale, commenting on and critiquing their conditions. In Fairy Tale as Myth/Myth as Fairy Tale, Jack Zipes says:

Up through 1700, there was no literary fairy tale for children. On the contrary, children like their parents heard oral tales from their governesses, servants, and peers. The institiltionalizing of the literary fairy tale, begun in the salons during the seventeenth century, was for adults and arose out of a need by aristocratic women to elaborate and conceive other alternatives in society than those prescribed for them by men.

The term “fairy tale” comes from the title of a book published by one of these women of the French salons: Les Contes de Fees by Madame d’Aulnoy.

Zipes later says, “With regard to the origins of the fairy tale for children, it is practically impossible to give an exact date,” but importantly, though people did start writing fairy tales for children, using them for entertainment and as moral instruction, they were taken back and returned to adults, and they continue to be written, revised and retold and used as inspiration for novels and short stories in all sections of the library.

In addition to many retellings and fairy-tale inspired works in the children’s section, you’ll find Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood in the adult literary fiction section, Robin McKinley and Jane Yolen in the YA section and Neil Gaiman everywhere. Some of us have recently enjoyed The Bear and the Nightingale, which in my library, is in the adult SF/F section, and Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles is a SF fairy tale YA tetralogy. The magic and tone of fairy tales is carried over in the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Italo Calvino.

The non-fiction section has more than just anthologies. There are fairy tales retold in the poems of Anne Sexton, Catherynne M. Valente and Theodora Goss. Fairy tale scholars, such as Marina Warner, Jack Zipes and Maria Tatar have given us essays, histories and interpretations. At the end of Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tales, there is a recommended reading list 128 books long. For a literary magazine, you can subscribe to The Fairy Tale Review. And on the Internet you can read the archives of The Journal of Mythic Arts (where you will also find adult, YA, nonfiction and poetry recommended reading lists).


Marina Warner included her book From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers on her own recommended reading list (in Once Upon a Time), but it’s also on the nonfiction list at the JoMA site and it comes with some pretty good reviews on Goodreads, and that is what we’re beginning this week. 

For myself, I’m hoping to read two chapters a week to finish the book in about three months, so am planning on the introduction and chapter one this week. Others might choose a more leisurely pace.


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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 Your URL field 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, February 19, 2017

BW8: Book Festivals and birthdays


Time for a round of book festival news and bookish birthdays as I'm still traipsing around South America and hiking with Mark Adam's in Turn Right at Machu Picchu,  There are quite a few historical books about the Incas that sound intriguing including Kim McQuarries The Last Days of the Incas, and  Hugh Thomson's The White Rock,  If you haven't checked out Historicalnovels.com, they have a great selection set in precolumbian era and the Spanish conquest, 17th-20th century as well as mysteries. Fiction wise, check out goodreads list of Aztec, Maya and and Inca reads.

We may have missed the Hay Festival Cartagena 2017 in January, but there are plenty of links to all the authors involved and will most likely will be next year as well. However, start preparing yourself for the Paraty International Literary Festival which will take place late July in Brazil.

The Literary Women Festival is coming up the first weekend in March as well as the Festival Leue Literature in New York highlighting German language books. To check out festivals coming up in your area, go to the Book and Literary Festivals calendar on Everfest.




Authors celebrating birthdays this week are:


February 19:  Colombian poet and novelist José Eustasio Rivera and American writer Amy Tan

February 20:  South African novelist Alex La Guma and French novelist Georges Bernanos as well as Japanese novelist Shiga Naoya

February 21:  Humorist Erma Bombeck and novelist Anaïs Nin as well as poet W.H. Auden

February 22:  Author Edward Gorey and Australian poet John Shaw Neilson as well as Nobel prize winner and Greek novelist Giorgos Seferis

February 23:  English diarist Samuel Pepys and poet Haki R. Madhubuti 

February 24:  German author Wilhelm Carl Grimm and Polish novelist Juliusz Kaden-Bandrowski

February 25:  English author Anthony Burgess and Journalist George Schuyler

Have fun following rabbit trails! 


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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 Your URL field 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, February 12, 2017

BW7: Happy Valentine's Week

Unicorn Kiss by Josephine Wall


Happy Valentine's Week! Cheers to candy hearts and chocolate wishes, champagne and diamond dishes, and lots of mushy kisses for the mister and the missus.  Whether you are  into the grey, hunting for  light, caught in the dark, or perhaps searching for the unknown, may you find the book you seek for this lovely week.



Laughing Song

by

William Blake


When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;

When the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene,
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing “Ha, Ha, He!”

When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread,
Come live & be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of “Ha, Ha, He!”


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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 Your URL field 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.