Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Welcome to the 2014 Read 52 Books in 52 Week Challenge


Also the home of  Well Educated Mind, Nobel Prize Winners, Around the World  and various mini challenges.  
The rules are very simple and the goal is to read one book (at least) a week for 52 weeks.

  1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014. 
  2. Our book weeks will begin on Sunday  
  3. Participants may join at any time.
  4. All books are acceptable except children books.**
  5. All forms of books are acceptable including e-books, audio books, etc.
  6. Re-reads are acceptable as long as they are read after January 1, 2014.
  7. Books may overlap other challenges.
  8. Create an entry post linking to this blog. 
  9. Come back and sign up with Mr. Linky in the "I'm participating post" below this post.
  10. You don't have a blog to participate.  Post your weekly book in the comments section of each weekly post.  
  11. Mr. Linky will be added to the bottom of the weekly post for you to link to reviews of your most current 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, November 23, 2014

BW48: Happy Thanksgiving


 Thanksgiving 

By 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox  (1896)

 
We walk on starry fields of white
   And do not see the daisies;
For blessings common in our sight
   We rarely offer praises.
We sigh for some supreme delight
   To crown our lives with splendor,
And quite ignore our daily store
   Of pleasures sweet and tender.

Our cares are bold and push their way
   Upon our thought and feeling.
They hang about us all the day,
   Our time from pleasure stealing.
So unobtrusive many a joy
   We pass by and forget it,
But worry strives to own our lives
   And conquers if we let it.

There’s not a day in all the year
   But holds some hidden pleasure,
And looking back, joys oft appear
   To brim the past’s wide measure.
But blessings are like friends, I hold,
   Who love and labor near us.
We ought to raise our notes of praise
   While living hearts can hear us.

Full many a blessing wears the guise
   Of worry or of trouble.
Farseeing is the soul and wise
   Who knows the mask is double.
But he who has the faith and strength
   To thank his God for sorrow
Has found a joy without alloy
   To gladden every morrow.

We ought to make the moments notes
   Of happy, glad Thanksgiving;
The hours and days a silent phrase
   Of music we are living.
And so the theme should swell and grow
   As weeks and months pass o’er us,
And rise sublime at this good time,
   A grand Thanksgiving chorus.


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Link to your reviews:    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. If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

BW47: Literary Birthdays


A few literary birthdays this week to celebrate and  add weight to your wishlists and tbr piles for 2015. 



November 16 

Jose Saramago (Nobel Prize in literature in 1998 - Portuguese novelist) 
Chinua Achebe (Nigerian novelist) 
Alexander Aleksandrovich Blok (Russian Poet)


November 17

Joost van den Vondel (Dutch poet and playwright)


November 18

Margaret Atwood ( Canadian novelist)
Sir William Gilbert (British humorist and dramatist)


November 19

Allan Tate - American Poet


November 20 

Selma Lagerlof  (Nobel Prize in literature in 1909 - Swedish novelist) 
Nadine Gordimer  (South African novelist)


November 21

Voltaire  (French philosopher)
Beryl Bainbridge (English novelist and short story)


November 22 

George Eliot, aka Mary Anne Evans (English novelist)
André Gide  (Nobel Prize in literature in 1947 - French Novelist)




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 Link to your reviews:    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. If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.

 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

BW46 - 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

1001 Books by Peter Boxal

I received this book last Christmas and determined that  I had read 51 out of the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.  If I live to be 100 years old, that would mean I need to read 21 books a year in order read all 1001. That's not going to happen,  just because....fill in the blank with whatever excuse comes to mind. *grin*  However, I could probably manage 5 to 10 a year if I really put my heart and mind into it.  And speaking of my mind, I've already started brainstorming for 2015 since we only have 8 weeks (7 1/2 if you want to get technical) left in the year.  *facepalm*  I think everyone will agree this year has gone by way to fast. 

So I've set a new goal for myself as well as, drumroll please......decided to present you with a new mini challenge for next year.  I thought you'd appreciate the advance notice.  In order to avoid the 'my eyes are bigger than my stomach' syndrome, going to limit it to 5 books.  The five books I have chosen are:


Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres

Foucaults Pendulum - Umberto Eco

The House of the Spirits - Isabel Allende

To Kill a Mockinbird - Harper Lee

I have a few other books in my stacks and if I get to those, we'll consider them gravy.  Now the good thing is you don't even have to buy 1001 Books because the list is online.   Have fun, plan away and see what strikes your fancy. 

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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. If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.  


Sunday, November 2, 2014

BW45: Non fiction November

The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante

It seems appropriate that while I'm doing NaNoWriMo and working on a story to also be reading about The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante.  I joined a group of writers a few months back to study the book and we are working through the book, one chapter a month.  It's been quite enlightening as the exercises has sparked quite a few ideas for the story I'm currently editing.  

I'm more of a fiction type of gal, reading probably 95% fiction to 5% non fiction which is why declaring this month, Non Fiction November.   I have a tendency to buy a non fiction book because it sounded really interesting...at the time I bought it.  Then it gets relegated to the shelf and forgotten until I have a need for it.  This month I'm going to make an attempt to read a couple of those books.  

We've been doing a readalong of Susan Wise Bauer's History of the Ancient World  over on Well Trained Mind forums.  We're supposed to be on chapters 62 and 63 this week and I'm woefully behind, so will do my level best to catch up this month.  

Also in my stacks is The Cave and The Light: Plato versus Aristotle by Arthur Herman which has been calling my name. I always bite off more than I can chew so going to limit myself to these three books for the month and dive in with both feet. 

For those who have been reading their way through books listed in Bauer's Well Educated Mind, now would be a good time to tackle one of the recommended reads in the history or  autobiography categories.

If non fiction isn't your thing, then my challenge to you this month is to read at least one non fiction book.

Happy reading! 


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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. If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.  



Sunday, October 26, 2014

BW44: November - National Novel Writing Month







  National Novel Writing Month






November is coming up fast and that means it is time for Nanowrimo which is short for National Novel Writing Month.   If you aren't aware of what it is - here's the skinny:


National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write 50,000 words  by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

I've been participating since 2007 which makes November a very crazy, stressful, interesting month.  Why do I do it?  Because it challenges me to be creative.  However, going to do things a little differently this time.  I'm in the midst of editing a story, which involves a lot of rewriting.  I'm going to be a Nano rebel.  I've checked in with the powers that be and the consensus is 1 hour of editing is equal to 1000 words, so shooting for at least two hours of editing a day. Yeah!  It's doable.  Plus the sparkly idea percolating in the back of my head may just get incorporated into the story.  

My son is also participating through the Young Writer's Program and he gets to set his own writing goal.  He loves writing fan fiction and would probably write 8 hours a day if I let him.

So if you have ever had the urge to write, jump in and join the rest of the nanowrimo's. For those nonwriters among us, check out the Irish Times new book club or Russia Beyond the Headlines article on children's literature and How Dr. Dolittle became Dr. Ayobolit.

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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. If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.  


Sunday, October 19, 2014

BW43: Happy Birthday Ursula Le Guin

Copyright © by Marian Wood Kolisch

Tuesday, October 21st marks Ursula Le Guin's 85th birthday.  She has written over 21 novels of which, I think, she is best known for her EarthSea series.   As a matter of fact, Margaret Atwood proposed  A Wizard of Earthsea for the Wall Street Journal's latest bookclub read.

Le Guin's also published a number of short story collections, poetry as well as books for children.  She has also translated a few books including Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral and Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching; in addition to  essays about writing and life.  She has won numerous awards including the Hugo award in 1970 for The Left Hand of Darkness and in 1975 for The Dispossessed.

Yesterday I went on a book purge through my teetering stacks.  Decided if hadn't gotten around to actually reading a book in the past two or three years,  despite glancing through occasionally and returning to the pile, then it was time to go.  Unearthed The Left Hand of Darkness and it immediately called to me to read.



Synopsis:  When the human ambassador Genly Ai is sent to Gethen, the planet known as Winter by those outsiders who have experienced its arctic climate, he thinks that his mission will be a standard one of making peace between warring factions. Instead the ambassador finds himself wildly unprepared. For Gethen is inhabited by a society with a rich, ancient culture full of strange beauty and deadly intrigue—a society of people who are both male and female in one, and neither. This lack of fixed gender, and the resulting lack of gender-based discrimination, is the very cornerstone of Gethen life. But Genly is all too human. Unless he can overcome his ingrained prejudices about the significance of "male" and "female," he may destroy both his mission and himself.

Next month, she is being honored with the National Book Foundation's 2014 Medal for distinguished contribution to American Letters.  

Happy Birthday to Ursula Le Guin. 

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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. If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.  


Sunday, October 12, 2014

BW42: Armchair traveling - Let's sail the ocean blue



We've been armchair traveling most of the year across the continents.  We've spent quite a bit of time land locked, meandering about from England to Africa to Europe.  It's time to have a bit of fun, wipe the dust off our feet and head out across the waters.   Are you ready for a bit of barefoot travel, with the wind at our backs, mist in our hair as we sail the ocean blue. 

I can't decide whether to head out into the Atlantic and go north of the equator up to Greenland, or sail down and around the cape of Africa into the Indian Ocean.  As I have the hankering to explore Mozambique as well as the barrier islands in the archipelago (a bit of book research, nudge nudge, wink wink)think I'll start there, before heading east to Indonesia. Then I'll have to decide whether to drop down to sail around Australia.  Or sail to Singapore through the strait to the Pacific Ocean which will bring me back to where I started, ending and beginning my year at the same spot. 

Currently in my backpack are Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander and Post Captain from his Aubrey/Maturin historical series, M.L. Stedman's The Light Between Oceans and James Rollins' Deep Fathom.

If you've yet to read Melville's Moby Dick or C.S. Foresters Hornblower saga or Nordhoff and Hall's Mutiny on the Bounty, now may be a good time.  For more suggestions go to historical naval fiction, or Goodreads selection of Popular Naval Fiction, books set in the Atlantic and books set in the Pacific.  Check out Pinterest's eclectic list of Must Read Ocean Books.

Happy Sailing! 


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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. If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.  


  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

BW41: New York Times Best Sellers List



I'm always on the look out for unique or interesting book lists and periodically turn to Hawes Publications which lists every  New York Times Bestseller from the year 1950 until the present.  You can look up which fiction and non fictions books were published and on the best seller list for the year, month and week you were born. Or when your children were born or the year you got married.  So many ways to play with the list.   This time round I decided to go with every ten years and see what books are on the list that I already have read or have, but not yet read. 



1959

Dear and Glorious Physician by Taylor Caldwell


1969 

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

1979

The Last Enchantment by Mary Stewart 

1989

Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco

1999

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

2009

Heat Wave by Richard Castle 

I've read them all except for Eco's book which is sitting front and center on my bookshelf pleading to be read.  The rest may deserve a reread but I'll save that for next year. 

So check out the lists, find your birth date, one of your loved ones birth dates, or any special date you can devise and pick out one of the books to read.  Enjoy!

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 Link to your most current read. 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. If you have multiple reviews, then type in (multi) after your name and link to your general blog url.




Sunday, September 28, 2014

BW40: October Spooktacular





Welcome to our October Spooktacular -  Bwaaahaaahaaahaaaa!   

This is the month we read all things spectacularly spooky and sinister and shockingly thrilling and chilling.  If you aren't into blood and guts horror, like me, there is much fun to be had in reading spine tingling, nail biting, don't read in bed or alone psychological thrillers.  Or how about an out of this world, give me goose bumps, paranormal.   Even an tantalizing thriller should suffice.

If you haven't read the staples of the genre - Frankenstein or Dracula, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Grey or Something Wicked This Way Comes - now is your chance.  Put away your expectations, because you just may be surprised when they don't turn out how you suspect they will.

I have a few chiller thrillers in my stacks for this month including Mr. Wicker, a new book recently released by an old roommate and friend, Maria Alexander.  She has been nominated for the Bram Stoker award numerous times for her short stories. 

Mr. Wicker by Maria Alexander

Synopsis:  Alicia Baum is missing a deadly childhood memory. Located beyond life, The Library of Lost Childhood Memories holds the answer. The Librarian is Mr. Wicker--a seductive yet sinister creature with an unthinkable past and an agenda just as lethal. After committing suicide, Alicia finds herself before the Librarian, who informs her that her lost memory is not only the reason she took her life, but the cause of every bad thing that has happened to her.

Alicia spurns Mr. Wicker and attempts to enter the hereafter without the Book that would make her spirit whole. But instead of the oblivion she craves, she finds herself in a psychiatric hold at Bayford Hospital, where the staff is more pernicious than its patients. Child psychiatrist Dr. James Farron is researching an unusual phenomenon: traumatized children whisper to a mysterious figure in their sleep. When they awaken, they forget both the traumatic event and the character that kept them company in their dreams -- someone they call "Mr. Wicker."

 During an emergency room shift, Dr. Farron hears an unconscious Alicia talking to Mr. Wicker--the first time he's heard of an adult speaking to the presence. Drawn to the mystery, and then to each other, they team up to find the memory before it annihilates Alicia for good. To do so they must struggle not only against Mr. Wicker's passions, but also a powerful attraction that threatens to derail her search, ruin Dr. Farron's career, and inflame the Librarian's fury.

After all, Mr. Wicker wants Alicia to himself, and will destroy anyone to get what he wants. Even Alicia herself.


 I've fallen in love with Dean Koontz and his Odd Thomas series so I am happy to say he wrote a series in which he reworked the Frankenstein theme.  I'm currently on book two 

City of Night by Dean Koontz
I also have two paranormal thrillers by new to me authors on tap for this month 

Sixty-one Nails by Mike Shevdon


In Shade and Shadow by Barb and J.C. Hendee

What spooktacular books will you be reading this month?

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 Link to your most current read. 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. If you have multiple reviews, then type in (multi) after your name and link to your general blog url.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

BW39: Happy Autumn

Japanese Maple,  North Carolina by Melissa Farlow 

~Happy Happy Autumn~   As of Tuesday, September 23nd, Autumn officially begins for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere and for our brother and sister readers in the Southern Hemisphere, it is officially Spring.  Fall with the cooler weather and colorful leaves always rejuvenates me for some reason.  I get in the mood for baking, strolling through the park through crackling leaves then nesting in my house in a comfy chair and reading.  

So what do you think of when you hear the words Autumn or Fall?  Leaves, of course, but what else?   Trees, falling, breeze, apples, football, corn, Halloween, harvest, orange, yellow, brown and crisp to name a few.   I bet you see where this is going.  Yep, read a book with a title that is associated with the season.  Or you can even read a book that is set during the autumn season. That one may be a bit trickier to find.

In my meandering about the interwebz, found the following offers:


Red Harvest by Dashiell Hamment


Bitter Harvest by Ann Rule


Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel Garcia Marquez


Early Autumn by Robert B. Parker
House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman 




Hmmm, they all look a bit serious and dark, but intriguing. Will have to look for some fun reads as well. Have fun searching out some titles and if you can find them already in your stacks, that will be a bonus. 

Happy Fall!


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Link to your most current read. 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. If you have multiple reviews, then type in (multi) after your name and link to your general blog url.

 



Sunday, September 14, 2014

BW38: Armchair Traveling through the 20th Century






The 20th Century, 1901 to 2000, was dominated by war and strife including The Great Depression, World War I and II,  the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall. But it also was a period of great achievement with the Wright brother's first airplane flight, the production of the model-T, the roaring 20's, Babe Ruth, Golden Age of television, the first space flight, the beginning of the movie series, Star Wars and the creation of the world wide web.  

Literature wise, we had the beginnings of literary modernism influenced by poets T.E. Hulme and Ezra Pound. Their usage of plain speech, free verse and vivid imagery helped shaped modern imagery. As modernism developed, T.S. Elliot's Wasteland and James Joyce Ulysses were seen, not only as controversial, but innovative and transformed the image of modernism.  

With the advances of technology during the 20th century, books became easier to produce and gave rise to popular literature.  With the rise of popularity, we had the birth of literary criticism and awards including The Nobel Peace Prize for Literature, the Nebula, and British Fantasy Awards.  

Such a wide variety of authors including Marcel Proust, Thomas Mann, Joseph Conrad to J.R.R. Tolkein, Jean Paul Satre, Graham Greene, and Daphne Du Maurier to Philip Dick, Robert Heinlein, to Sylvia Plath and Thomas Pynchon to Orhan Pamuk, Umberto Eco and J.K. Rowling. 

Too many resources to list so check out the ever helpful Historical Novels and Goodreads Popular 20th Century Literature


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 Link to your most current read. 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. If you have multiple reviews, then type in (multi) after your name and link to your general blog url.