Thursday, December 31, 2015

Welcome to the 2015 Read 52 Books in 52 Week Challenge


Also the home of  Well Educated Mind, Around the World, A to Z, Dusty and Chunky  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, 2015 through December 31, 2015. 
  2. Our book weeks will begin on Sunday 
  3. Except for our first week which will run from Thursday Jan 1 through Saturday Jan 10
  4. Participants may join at any time.
  5. All books are acceptable except children books.**
  6. All forms of books are acceptable including e-books, audio books, etc.
  7. Re-reads are acceptable as long as they are read after January 1, 2015.
  8. Books may overlap other challenges.
  9. Create an entry post linking to this blog. 
  10. Come back and sign up with Mr. Linky in the "I'm participating post" below this post.
  11. You don't have a blog to participate.  Post your weekly book in the comments section of each weekly post.  
  12. 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, January 25, 2015

BW4: Books of the Far East


Rebun Island, Japan

I have been meandering about Japan, but I'm ready to venture on. In my wanderings discovered the Sea of Japan is bordered by not only Japan, but North and South Korea and Russia. I've already explored Russia so decided to head in a southerly direction to explore different rabbit trails and ended up adding a few more books to my wishlist.

James Church and his Inspector O series set in North Korea which starts with A Corpse in the Koryo:


A Corpse in the Koryo



 Plus Simon Winchester's  A Walk through the Land of Miracles


A Walk through the land of Miracles



as well as The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim

The Calligrapher's Daughter

I dipped down into the East China Sea and across to Shanghai and found Elvira Baryakini's White Shanghai: A novel of the Roaring Twenties.

White Shanghia


and from there started my journey across the continent with Colin Thubron's Shadow of the Silk Road

Shadow of the Silk Road

Check out the Goodreads Around the World in 80 Days  discussion for more books set in both North and South Korea, as well as those set in ChinaMongolia, as well as popular Silk Road stories.  

Happy Hunting!

******************************************************************


History of the Medieval World - Chapter 4 (pp 28-35) and Chapter 5 (pp 36 - 40)
The Persian Threat (325 - 361)
The Apostate         (361 - 364)



*****************************************************************
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, January 18, 2015

BW3: Women of the Middle Ages

Eleanor of Aquitaine courtesy of Medieval Life and Times
There has been quite a bit of discussion about balancing out our read of History of the Medieval world with some female authors or reads about females of the medieval time period.  Since the time frame runs from the 5th century with the collapse of the Roman Empire through the 15th century and the beginning of the Renaissance, we have a rather broad area to browse through.   Although the period was admittedly dominated male centric, there were quite a few powerful women not only behind them, but leading as well. I've highlighted a few as well as some books I discovered in my meanderings about the interwebz:

Notable women

Hypatia of Alexandria ( 370 - 415 ) Mathematician and Philosopher

St. Brigid of Kildair ( 451 - 525)  Founded the first nunneries in Ireland

Theodora ( 497 - 528)  Byzantine empress, wife and adviser to emperor Justinian

Irene of Athens (752 - 803)  Byzantine empress who, upon Leo IV death, become co-ruler with son Constantine VI 

Anna Comnena - (1083 - 1148) Considered 1st female historian and documented the reign of her father, Alexius I

Hildegard of Bingen (1098 - 1179) German prioress of Benedictine cloister of Disibodenberg

Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122 - 1204) Queen of France 

Christine De Pizan (1364 - 1430)  Italian poet, writer and feminine activist

Joan of Arc (1412 - 1421) Lead French army to victory during 100 years war



Book discoveries

Most Wise and Valiant Ladies by Andria Hopkins



Goodreads Best Medieval History Books - nonfiction

I think that gives us a pretty good start and there are numerous historical fiction stories that will suffice as well, so be sure to check out Historical Novels which has quite a long list of reads.  Happy hunting! 

******************************************************************************

History of the Medieval World - Chapter 3 (pp 21 - 27)
Empire of the Mind (India 319-415)

*****************************************************************************

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, January 11, 2015

BW2: Akutagawa Prize

Courtesy of Archipelago Books

In my meandering around Japan and checking out translated books, I stumbled upon the Japanese literary Award - the Akutagawa Prize which is currently sponsored by the Society for Promotion of Japanese Literature.  It was established in 1935 by author and editor Kan Kikuchi of the Bungeishunju magazine in honor of the author Akutagawa Ryunosuku.  The award is rewarded semi-annually.  

It is  considered the most prestigious, yet controversial award in Japan because many authors feel that the prize should only go to authors that write in the proper, classic Japanese style while others feel it should go to modern young authors who deal with more current events.  This past year, one of the judges who'd been on the panel 17 years actually resigned because he felt the quality of works submitted had been very poor.  Which undoubtedly was insulting to the current winner, Shin'ya Tinaka

The whole list of prizewinners is available on goodreads here with links to various books. Have fun exploring.

********************************************


History of the Medieval World Readalong - Chapter 2, pp 13 - 20
Seeking the Mandate of Heaven (China 313 - 402) 


*********************************************
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. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Week 1 - A Merry New Reading Year

Courtesy of Adelightsomelife

Happy New Year and welcome to a merry new reading year at Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks.  Welcome back to all who are joining me for another round and to those joining in for the first time.  

The rules are very simple. Read 52 Books. That's it. How you get there is up to you.  We have several optional challenges listed in the link bar above to stimulate your imagination and help you on your reading journeys.  In addition to the perpetual A to Z, Well Educated Mind challenge, Dusty/Chunky books, and another journey Around the World,  we will be having some readalongs, an Author Flavor of the Month as well as monthly themes to tickle your reading taste buds.  I'll be throwing in mini challenges here and there such as pick a book with a color or number or season in the title, or pick a book written in your birth year.

To start off our mind voyage for the year, this month's theme is January Journeys - rambling jaunts and walks, translated and transformed.    We'll be packing up our backpacks, replacing those old thread worn walking shoes for a new pair, and sailing (or flying if you prefer)  out across the Pacific toward the far eastern shores of the continent of Asia.  Where you go from there is up to you.  We'll be rambling and roving around reading translated books, exploring and examining different cultures and delving into the present as well as the past. 

We'll be starting out with a year long read of Susan Wise Bauer's History of the Medieval World. The goal is to finish by the end of the year so we will aim for one to two chapters a week.

Our author flavor of the month is Haruki Murakami (born 1/12/49) and I'll be diving into Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World while a few other gals on Well Trained Mind forums are choosing to delve into Kafka on the Shore.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading 1Q84  and still contemplating the strangeness of A Wind Up Bird Chronicle. Check out one of his books this month if you choose. 

I have found several resources for translated books and if you know of any I haven't mentioned, please let me know and we'll add it to the list. 

3% - A resource for international books by the University of Rochester.  I ended up exploring many rabbit trails through this site. 

Archipelago Books - Thanks to this company, I currently have Blinding and The Great Weaver of Kashmir in my backpack.

Glagoslav Publications - Translations from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus for English and Dutch readers.  

Europa Editions has now created World Noir specializing in international crime fiction. 

Our first week is going to run from today through Saturday, January 10th so enjoy, relax and have fun exploring.  I look forward to hearing all about your finds. 


*****************************************************************************************
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, December 21, 2014

BW 52: 2014 Year End Wrap Up


Happy Winter!   Huzzah!  We made it through another adventurous,  intriguing, mystical and mysterious, time altering, life changing year.  This year turned into the Year of the Fluff for me while I dealt with the grief of my mother's passing.   I had grand plans to read through all the centuries and around the world. However, my mind knew just what it needed and I curled up with urban fantasies, paranormals, romantic suspense and light mysteries with a dash of mysticism and splash of history.  

Christmas break has officially started and I am looking forward to cuddling up on the couch with a good book or two and enjoying our two weeks off from lessons.  In the meantime, I'm looking forward to reading everyone's list of reads for the year and adding a few more books to my ever teetering stacks.

So?  How did it go?


  • How many books did you read and did you meet your own personal goal?  
  • Most thrilling, oh my goodness, I want to read it again, unputdownable book?
  • Top 5 favorite stories?
  • Least favorite book? 
  • New author discovery?  New genre discovery?
  • What countries or centuries did you explore?
  • Share a favorite character, story, quote or cover 
  • One book that touched you - made you laugh, cry, sing or dance.
  •  Are you ready to do it all over again?
  • Do you have any goals to check out different genres or authors, read translated books or stories in another language for 2015?  
Congratulations and thank you to everyone for joining in.  I have loved sharing our reading journeys together.   Since today is officially Winter, let's wind up the year with some wintery reads. 

Brew me a cup for a winter’s night.
For the wind howls loud, and the furies fight;
Spice it with love and stir it with care,
And I’ll toast your bright eyes, my sweetheart fair.

~Minna Thomas Antrim, "A Night Cap," A Book of Toasts, 19
02
 *********************************************************************
 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. 



Friday, December 19, 2014

2015 read 52 Books in 52 Weeks

2015 Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks


Are you ready for another round of Reading 52 books in 52 Weeks? Whether you are just joining in or continuing on for another round, the rules are very simple. The goal is to read one book (at least) a week for 52 weeks. Make the year easy and casual or kick it up by exploring new to you authors and genres. Challenge yourself to read at least some classics or delve into that chunkster (more than 500 pages) you always wanted to tackle. Do you have books gathering dust on the shelves just waiting to be read? Then now is the time. The goal is to read 52 books. How you get there is up to you. 

I have included several mini challenges to amp up the fun -


A to Z Challenge:  Challenge yourself to read books alphabetically by Title and/or by Author.  Have fun searching out those difficult letters.

Dusty Mini challenge: Limit buying new books for 1 - 4 months and/or read 4 to 12 or more books gathering dust on your shelves prior to 2015. 
 
Chunky Mini Challenge -books more than 500 pages.

Read Around the World:  Read books set in and/or written by an author of a different country each week.  Hang out in one country, exploring their history and culture or strike out across the world, mixing and mingling.  It's entirely up to you how fast and how far and how many books you want to read.  Have fun exploring! 

Well Educated Mind:  Continuing exploring the classics in 5 categories: Fiction, Autobiography, History/Politics, Drama and Poetry.  

We have Monthly Themes to keep it exciting from January Junkets reading translated books to cunning and conniving Machiavellian May to Ominious October's spooktaculars. 

Plus we'll be doing a readalong of Susan Wise Bauer's History of the Medieval World.  

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


  1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015. 
  2. Our book weeks 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, 2015. 
  7. Books may overlap other challenges. 
  8. Create an entry post linking to this blog. 
  9. Sign up with Mr. Linky in the "I'm participating post" below this post. 
  10. You don't need 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 to link to reviews of your most current reads.
 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I'm participating in 2015

I'm participating in 2015





Sunday, December 14, 2014

BW51: Armchair Traveling through the 21st Century and Beyond



Our armchair travels this year have taken us around the world and through the centuries from the twelfth to the present and into the future.  My mind voyage through the years has been interesting and intriguing, although there are a few books I never quite managed to read.  Time and time again (forgive the pun) I had the "eyes are bigger than my stomach" syndrome, courtesy of the wonderful world of ebooks.  Don't know sometimes whether e-books are a pleasure or a curse, since it is so easy to impulse shop. 

My stacks, both physical and electronic,  are full of a variety of genres from historical to British mystery to classics to thrillers to paranormal, science fiction and fantasy from all time periods.  Which is why I'll probably be doing a book buying ban at the beginning of the new year and plowing through my shelves with a read my own books challenge.  That is until I get the book buying blues and race down to my local Barnes and Noble for a book fix.  *grin*

In the past 14 years, we've seen the popularity of very graphic, young adult novels such as The Hunger Games series, and Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series.   The rise of availability of translated novels thanks to such small press publishers such as Archipelago books, and the demand for comic books and graphic novels.  I've discovered quite a few new to me urban fantasy and paranormal series thanks to Literary Escapism and other book bloggers.  There has been a resurgence of interest in classic novels thanks to university presses like Harvard University Press and availability of classics through publishers such as Penguin Classics.

We have so many resources at our fingertips now, it's mind boggling.   Which is why I love Nancy Pearl and her Book Lust series - Book Lust, More Book Lust and Book Lust to Go.  And I have so much fun scouring Goodreads lists - eclectic and interesting.

Next week we'll do a wrap up of our 2014 year of reading  (remember week 52 will take us from the 21st through the 31st)  and then we'll be ready to do it all over again.  I'll be posting I'm participating in 2014 mr linky in the next few days for those who are ready to commit to another round of read 52 books in 52 weeks. 

Happy Reading! 


******************************************************************************
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, December 7, 2014

BW50: Best Books of 2014





We have three and half weeks left in the year and I have been perusing all the Best Books of 2014 lists.  Scratching my head wondering what universe I'm living in.  Although I may have read books by the authors mentioned,  I haven't read any of the books on the lists.   Hmm!  More books to add to my wishlists.  *grin*   Since it is time to start thinking about next year, thought I'd spark your appetites and pocketbooks with The Best Of Lists.




Have fun!!!!!!


******************************************************************

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 30, 2014

BW49: Delightful and inspirational December

Josephine Wall's Bubble World

What inspires you? Flowers, dogs, books, prayer, poetry, cats, children, friends, artwork, God, trees, horses, fairies, beauty, love, bubbles, family or butterflies. The list is endless since we are all unique in what inspires or delights us. Whether it is painting a picture or just looking at a masterpiece; reading a book or poetry or writing one of our own. The desire to fly, to float, or freewheel through the universe. December is a month full of celebrations: Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, St Lucia Day, Boxing Day, St Nicolas Day, and the winter solstice. All things to celebrate and which bring us inspiration. I'm declaring this month to be Delightful and inspirational December.

One of my favorite non fiction writers is Thomas Merton, a trappist monk. I read The Seventh Storey Mountain a few years ago and have been hooked on his writing ever since. He's also a name dropper, very well read,and friends with numerous authors so his books have lead me on many rabbit trails over the years. Another writer whom I found to be inspirational spiritually is Pope Benedict. Whether you are Catholic or not, he is an excellent writer and theologian. Last year I read "Jesus of Nazareth" (review) which just blew me away and made me want to read more of his books.

Writing wise, I'm hooked on several different authors who inspire my creativity including James Scott Bell, K.M Weiland, Nora Roberts,and Alice La Plante to name just a few. I generally don't read poetry, however, I'll make an exception for Robert Frost. He really speaks to me with his words such as in The Road Not Taken.

In my meandering around the internet I found the ever present Goodreads has an interesting selection of Popular inspirational reads as well as Beliefnet's Top 100 Inspirational Books Need a bit of motivation? Check out Inc.'s Top 10 Motivational Books of all time. Since I've read Think and Grow Rich, How to Win Friends and Influence people, Power of Positive Thinking and Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, I highly recommend checking it out.

What books do you find inspirational?

********************************************************************


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 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.


*****************************************
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.