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, October 22, 2017

BW43: Prime Time Reading Fun

Courtesy of Licor43


It's time for a bit of Prime Time Reading Fun as we begin week 43 of our Adventurous Prime Reading year.  Since 43 is a prime number, let's play. 


  • Find a book with forty three in the title. 
  • Create an anagram from forty-three and read a book with the word in the title.
  • Read book #43 in your bookshelves counting from the left.
  • Read a book set in 1643, 1743, 1843, or 1943.
  • Read a book about a person born in 1943
  • Read a book set in or about Idaho, 43rd state.
  • Read a book about 43rd president
  • Read a book in Dewey Decimal category within 300 or 400 and in  the subsection .43 
  • Read a book set in the country by the scientists who discovered Technetium - Element 43 on the periodic table. 
  • Read a book set in the 43rd city and/or state in any country. 
  • Austria country code 43 allows you  to call Austria from another country so read a book set in Austria or written by an Austrian Author.
  • Go to your current read, find page 43. Count down to line 4, then left to the 3rd word.  Read a book with that word in the title or a book about that word.
  • Count the letters in your name. Did you end up with a prime number?  Read a book with a character with the same name as you. 
  • Are you 43?  Read a book published in your birth year. 
  • 4 + 3 = 7.  4 x 3 = 12.  7 + 12 = 19.  12 - 7 = 5.  4 - 3 = 1.  Plug in any of the resulting prime numbers instead of 43 to the above quests and have fun following rabbit trails.
Kudos to whoever can match it up with a spooktacular read!

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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, October 15, 2017

BW42: Happy Birthday Robert Pinsky




Courtesy of Wikipedia



Happy Birthday to poet Robert Pinsky, who is turning 77 on October 20th



Samurai Song



When I had no roof I made
Audacity my roof. When I had
No supper my eyes dined.

When I had no eyes I listened.
When I had no ears I thought.
When I had no thought I waited.

When I had no father I made
Care my father. When I had
No mother I embraced order.

When I had no friend I made
Quiet my friend. When I had no
Enemy I opposed my body.

When I had no temple I made
My voice my temple. I have
No priest, my tongue is my choir.

When I have no means fortune
Is my means. When I have
Nothing, death will be my fortune.

Need is my tactic, detachment
Is my strategy. When I had
No lover I courted my sleep.




Learn more about Robert Pinsky, who is the founder of the Favorite Poem Project as well created the MOOC course The Art of Poetry offered through Boston University and EDX.

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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, October 8, 2017

BW41: Bookish Notes and Birthdays




It is time for another round of bookish notes and birthdays.   

Congratulations to  Kazuo Ishiguro, the 2017 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.  The secretary of the Swedish academy "described Kazuo Ishiguro's writing style as a mix of Jane Austen and Franz Kafka: 'But you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix, and then you stir.'"  Ishiguro has been awarded the prize as one "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world."  Check out Literary Saloon's round up of articles discussing Ishiguro.

Neil Gaiman's Good Omens will be coming to screens in the near future with David Tennant and  Michael Sheen, playing the demon and the angel.   Plus Gaiman's All Hallows Read will be repeated this year the week of Halloween with some scary but not too scary book suggestions for kids to teens.  

Check out 8 Stellar Nonfiction Reads for World space week which runs from October 4th through the 10th. 

Tor's We Dare You to Spend the Night with These Haunted House stories

Moving on to the not so spooky with The Irish Times article: Mrs Osmond by John Banville: An entertaining homage to Henry James.


Royal History of Women's October compilation of royal women stories.

The little known visual art of E.E. Cummings.  


Birthdays:

October 8:  Science Fiction writer Frank Herbert,  and the author of Goosebumps - R.L. Stine

October 9:  Australian author Jill Ker Conway

October 10:   Yugoslavian novelist and 1961 Nobel Prize winner for literature - Ivo Andric as well as English playwright and 2005 Nobel Prize winner for literature - Harold Pinter 

October 11:  French novelist and 1952 Nobel Prize winner - François Mauriac 

October 12: African American novelists - Alice Childress and Ann Lane Petry

October 13:  Pulitzer Prize winner Conrad Richter

October 14:  Poet e.e. cummings



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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, October 1, 2017

BW40: Spooky and Spectacular October






What lies beyond -  Witches and Vampires and Ghosts - Oh My!

Welcome to October and our celebration of all things spooky and spectacular!  Are you ready to scare yourself silly and dive into the thrilling and chilling, supernatural and psychological, the dark and the weird, Gothic and horrifically suspenseful reads. There's a bit of something for everyone - nonfiction ghost stories, contemporaryclassics, Gothic,  thrilling,  terrifying science fiction and everything in between.  From the silly to the 'afraid to sleep with the lights' out. I don't know about you, but I tend to shy away from the blood and guts horror, but enjoy the fingernail nibbling, heart palpating, goosebumps all over my body,  psychological thrillers. 


If you haven't read the staples of the genre -  Frankenstein or Dracula, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Grey, Turn of the Screw or Something Wicked This Way Comes, or the works of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, now is the time. Also be sure check out the Top Ten Contemporary Horror NovelistsFabulously Creepy Reads by 13 Women Writers, and  65 Great YA Horror Reads by Women.  Take a peek at the plethora of choices from the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award Reading list from 2016.   


I have a few interesting books on my shelves for this month including Ray Bradbury's From the Dust Returned, new to me author Mindy McGinnis's A Madness So Discreet, Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island as well as  Dean Koontz's The Husband.  


Let's not forget our birthstone of the month. You get to choose between Opal and Tourmaline.  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 Opal or Tourmaline.   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 gem is currently found. 



What spooky books are you reading this month? 




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











Sunday, September 24, 2017

BW39: Freedom to Read

Courtesy of Evellen Deconinck


This week we celebrate our freedom to read.  Books fill our lives and now come in all shapes and forms.  They are inanimate objects until you open one up and read the words on the page.   They educate and illuminate, teach powerful ideas and words, introduce old and new concepts and cultures, exposes the how's, why's and what's of life.  They can lift us up and make us laugh or fill us with sweet joy as well as sorrow. They open our eyes, hearts, souls and minds. We tear them apart and analyze, argue, debate and think about what if.  Books are readily available anywhere from libraries to book stores to grocery stories to the little library at your neighbor's house.  

There are some individuals who find those words and the thoughts created by those individual letters objectionable and seek to prevent others from reading them.  Fortunately, because we are a free country, we have the freedom to read what we want, where we want and when we want. However, with that freedom comes responsibility, especially for parents.  We are tasked individually with deciding not only how we view what we are reading and how it affects us personally, but also when our children are ready and able to understand different words or ideas or thoughts.  What's right for one child may not be right for another and it is up to the parent to decide.  Not anyone else.   We can respectfully agree or disagree with one another, but no one should take away our right to read or not read what we choose.  

Which brings us to Banned Book Week, started 35 years ago by the American Library Association Office of Intellectual Freedom, in response to challenges and requests to ban books from libraries and bookstores due to their content.  Historically, there have been challenges and bans and burnings around the world since 210bc starting with Chinese emperor Shih Huang Ti to the present with ISIS destroying books and historical documents in Mosul. 

Celebrate your freedom to read with one of many challenged books including classics and children's books as well international books banned by various governments.  Check out this article about the  massive list created by Argentine artist Marta Minujín and researchers from the University of Kassel. 


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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, September 17, 2017

BW38: September Equinox







Nothing Gold Can Stay

By 

Robert Frost 


Nature’s first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold. 
Her early leaf’s a flower; 
But only so an hour. 
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief, 
So dawn goes down to day. 
Nothing gold can stay. 



It's time to celebrate the changes of the seasons once again with the September Equinox starting on Friday, the 22nd. The beginning of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere brings on the changing of the leaves and cooler temperatures and Spring in the Southern Hemisphere brings the birth of new wildlife and wildflowers as well as warmer temperatures.

I have the colors of fall on my mind today - gold, green, yellow, red, orange as well as well as purple and blue from the flowers blooming on the morning glory and sagebrush in my yard.  So my challenge to you is two fold: Pick a color and 1) Find the color in the title or find a book about the color and/or  2) choose a book based on the color of the cover.



Such as  Ted Dekker's Circle Trilogy:







Or Clive Cussler's Inca Gold




Or Red: A History of the Redhead



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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, September 10, 2017

BW37: Happy Birthday Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver - Courtesy of Emily's Poetry Blog



Happy Birthday to poet Mary Oliver who is 81 years old today.


The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?






Find out  more about Mary Oliver as well as learn about Oliver and the Romantic Tradition as well as read her interview with Maria Shriver  and NPR's review of Oliver's selected essays Upstream.


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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, September 3, 2017

BW36: Sappy September

Logan Sapphire - National Museum of Natural History

Wave a hearty goodbye to August as we greet Sappy September and embrace the royal and romantic Sapphire, our birthstone of the month.   This month we are celebrating Labor Day and Constitution day in the U.S.,  International Literacy,  the Autumn/Spring equinox, and Banned Book Week.  Let's not forget Emma Nutt who became the first woman telephone operator on September 1, 1878 and worked happily for 33 years.  During September we are also celebrating special as well as wacky days including International Bacon day, Grandparents day, No News is Good News day, Hat day, Talk like a Pirate day and World Gratitude day. 

Our birthstone of the month is the Sapphire. 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 Sapphire.   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.

Sapphires were discovered around 800BC and the name comes from the Latin word saphirus and the Greek sapheiors which means blue.   The ancient Greeks believed the stone protected them from envy and  harm. In the 12th century, the stone was believed to guard against witchcraft.  Sir Richard Francis Burton thought the stone brought him good luck. King Solomon wore the ring and many believed it provided them with heavenly blessings.  The ring's symbolism for romance and royalty was reinforced in the 1980's when Prince Charles gave Lady Diana Spencer a blue sapphire engagement ring.  Sapphires come in different shades of blue depending on from which country they are mined. The purest blue come from Kashmir and Burma, darker shades from Wales, Australia, China and Nigeria.  The lighter shades of blue comes from Sri Lanka, which is largest producer of sapphires over 100 carats. 

Our armchair travels are taking us all over the world this month as we dive into the world of Romance.  From G rated to the "oh my god, hide the cover so no one knows what I'm reading" books, there is a wide variety to choose from. 

The Romance genre includes a number of sub genres: 


  • Historical
  • Contemporary
  • Regency
  • Paranormal
  • Fantasy
  • Futuristic
  • Time travel 
  • Gothic 
  • Romantic suspense
  • Inspirational 
  • Young Adult  
  • Erotic   

and our own special category - flufferton abbey - a term coined by Amy from Well Trained mind, which represents more of a writing style, rather than a genre

 Don't know where to start? Check out Dear Author, Literary Escapism, Deadline Dames, Romance Writers of America, Cozy Romantic Mysteries as well as Feedspot's list of Top 100 Romance Books blogs and Websites.  And don't forget Goodread's Listopia of Romance Books

Ten of my favorite romance authors:

Nora Robert
Roxanne St. Claire
Jayne Ann Krentz 
Debbie Macomber
Diana Gabaldon
Nalini Singh
Robyn Carr  
Karen Marie Moning
C.E.Murphy
Faith Hunter
M.L. Buchman

Romance writers take us around the worlds as well as out of this world.  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, August 27, 2017

BW35: Random Prime Number reading mini challenge

Courtesy of Uhedron


It's time for a Random Prime Number Reading mini challenge.  We are more than halfway through the year and even though this isn't a prime number week, it is the 5th week of the month.  Pick a random prime number, either out of a hat, have a family member choose a number, or use the Random prime number generator.  Find a book with the random number in the title on your shelves, through the library, or support your local indie bookstore and read it.   The number in the title may be in numbers or letters.

Using the generator, my pick is 19 which resulted in some interesting finds.










I've added Department 19 to my stacks and enjoying it so far.


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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, August 20, 2017

BW 34: Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse - Courtesy of Nasa 


Years ago when I worked in the teacher education department at CSUS, a solar eclipse occurred midday.  Classes and the daily business of running the campus paused as students, staff and faculty gathered in and around the quad for the event. Solar glasses and viewers passed from hand to hand, strangers became friends and for a couple hours, we all enjoyed nature's show.  This year thousands are traipsing up the highways and byways from Oregon to Georgia and Bonnie Tyler will be reprising one of my favorite songs from years gone by, Total Eclipse of the Heart, from a stage on the Royal Caribbean's Total Eclipse Cruise to commemorate the event. If you can't get outside or don't have any means to look at the eclipse safely, watch it streamed online through NASA

Since the eclipse is on everyone's mind this week, your mission is to read a book with eclipse in the title or words associated with the eclipse such as solar, shadow, sun, obscured, total, brilliant, obscure or phenomenon to name a few.  Dip your toes into the celestial darkness or soar with the sun.  




"From out yon nimbus cloud, the mighty sun
Sweeps o'er the raptured woods his golden beams,
And wakens in my soul such dulcet chords
As harp or breathing organ never swelled.


~James Rigg, "The Poet's Ramble in October"

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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, August 13, 2017

BW33: Happy Birthday - Alfred Corn

Alfred Corn - August 14, 1943 



Happy birthday to American poet, Alfred Corn, who will be 74 on August 14th. 



Fire: The People  


Toplight hammered down by shadowless noon, 
A palindrome of midnight, retrograde 
From last month’s solstice in smoke and flame, 
In molten glares from chrome or glass. I feel 
Fever from the cars I pass, delirium 
Trembling out from the radiators. 
The dog-day romance seems to be physical, 
As young free lances come into their own, 
Sunbrowned, imperial in few clothes, 
Heat-struck adulthood a subject to youth 
And fitful as traffic, the mind pure jumble 
But for that secret overriding voice 
Advising and persuading at each crossroads; 
The struggle toward freedom to forge a day. 

Smoke; flame; oiled, gray-brown air. 
Jackhammers and first gear on the avenues; 
Stuntmen driving taxicabs; patient, blue, 
Hippo aggressiveness of a bus, nudging 
Aside the sedans. And the peculiar 
Fascination of a row of workshops— 
The dark interiors with skylight sunstripes; 
A figure walking in slow motion among 
Pistons; rough justice of a die cutter; 
A helmeted diver, wielding acetylene, 
Crouched over some work of sunken treasure 
That sparkles gold at a probe from his torch . . . . 
Seismic shocks interrupt this dream—a stampede 
Of transports flat out to make the light, 
Mack truck, Diamond Reo, a nameless tanker, 
IT International, a Seatrain destined 
For the Port Authority docks—one more 
Corrugated block to pile on the rest, 
Red, green, gray, and blue, waiting for a ship 
In the Grancolombiana line . . . . 
The seagoing city radiates invisibly 
Over the world, a documentary sublime. 

Lunch hour, even the foods are fast, potluck 
In the melting pot: the Italian girl 
With a carton of chicken; Puerto Rican folding 
A pizza; the black woman with an egg roll; 
A crop-headed secretary in round, 
Metal spectacles eats plain yogurt (she’s 
Already mantis thin) and devours glamour 
Mags . . . . Our crowd scene, a moving fresco: 
But is it really there? The adversary 
Today is named Random. How capture all this 
Without being taken captive in turn, 
Install it as something more than backdrop, 
As a necessity, not a sundry? 
Suppose just an awareness of the way 
Living details might be felt as vision 
Is vision, full, all there ever was—this 
Instant palindromic noon, the joined hands 
Of the clock, end and beginning . . . . Surely 
The first to consider imagining stars 
Constellations had already done as much, 
Just by making some brilliant connections; 
Mind crowned itself in a round of leaps from point 
To point across the empty stage of night . . . . 

* * * * * 

Now as a pigeon banks, descends, hovers, 
And drops on asphalt with back-thrust wings, 
Comes a desire to be lifted in the balance, 
Rise to some highest point and then be met 
By a fierce new light haloing lashes shatter 
Into spears of aurora, naked eye become 
Prismatic at last and given to see in kind 
All the transformed inhabitants forever go 
About their errands, on a new scale: the rainbow 
Is the emblem for this moment filtering through 
The body’s meshwork nerves, and a heartbeat impulse 
All around puts troops of feet in step with music, 
Persistent, availing, that disregards the frayed 
Years, vagaries, downfall among trash, accident, 
Loss; or because it knows these rushes upward 
On something like heartbreak into the only sky, 
Air aspirant with fractioned voices, feverfew 
Of the sensed illusion, higher ground, progressions 
Sounded in the spheres—so each step takes them further, 
Sceptered, into daytime, saluting the outcome. 
There is a fire that surpasses the known burning, 
Its phoenix center a couple that must be there, 
Blast furnace, dynamo, engendering a city, 
Phosphor spines that bend and meet to weld, to fuse 
As a divining rod—sluicings, spillway, braid, 
Chorded basses that set myriad threads afire, 
Newborn limbs and reach of the proven tendon now 
Let go into empowered brilliance, rayed showers, 
The garden regained. In this light the place appears: 
Hands that rise or fall, muted gestures of welcome 
And good-bye, face that turns and comes forward to claim 
A smile latent in the afternoon air, vague crowds 
Falling down streets without character toward 
An offered covenant—love that gives them each a name. 



To learn more about Alfred Corn, check out this interview with Jorge Rodriguez-Miralles in 2013 as well as Huff Post Interview about World War I poets and Pif Magazine's interview with Derek Alger.

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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.