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, January 15, 2017

BW3: Author Oulipo Mashup



And now for something completely different.  Have you ever heard of an Oulipo?  I was introduced to the form during one of my writing classes and found it quite intriguing.   Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle or OULIPO was founded by French Mathematician Francois de Lionnais and writer Raymond Queneau in 1960.   Basically it is introducing a constraint while writing a poem, creating a short story, or a lipogram.  

My first experiment with creating an OULIPO using Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken took an interesting turn.   I tried the N + 7 route which is using the dictionary,  replace the major nouns with another noun which is the 7th one below it.  However the first line ending up being Two robbers diverged in a women.  Hmmm! Once I quit laughing, I got the bright idea to take book titles and transform them into a story, but got as far as a weird poem.  

This week we have several literary author birthdays making it really hard to choose just one. So my Oulipo is a mashup of titles from their books, which once again makes either a a strange story or weird poem. I'll leave that up to you to decide.  Also, without googling, see if you can identify the authors from the titles. Then add one or more of them to your want list to read this year.



A descent into the Maelstrom
Behind the Lines
Cry of the Owl
Deep Water

Facts of the case of M. Valdemar
Gold Bug
Hop Frog
Imp of the Perverse

Lady with the Little Dog
Mr. Pim
Nothing that Meets the Eye
Portraits and Speculation

Red House Mystery
Six Weeks in Russia
Talented Mr. Ripley
The Way We Live Now

Three Sisters
We Didn’t Mean to See
When We Were Very Young
Two People

A Letter to America
A Table Near the Band
Lovers in London
Purloined Letter

Agnes Grey
Benefactor
Cask of Amontillado
Secret Water

Once Upon a Time
Peter Duck 
Carol 
Four Day’s Wonder

Things in our Garden
Black Cat
Seagulls
Masque of Red Death 

House at Pooh Corner
Pit and the Pendulum
Where the Stress Falls
Premature Burial 



Why don't you give it a try with books from your own shelves and see what happens!  

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, January 8, 2017

BW2: Happy 68th Birthday Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami January 12, 1949 

Jubilant January wouldn't be the same without Haruki Murakami.  He's a fan favorite with 52 Books and has become our traditional first readalong of the year.   I was introduced to his writing with 1Q84 and as Murakami said, it is a mind bending ode to George Orwell's 1984.  




Synopsis: Japan's most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II.    In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife's missing cat.  Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo.  As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan's forgotten campaign in Manchuria.

Murakami's imaginative writing sucks you into his stories and won't let you go until the end.    After delving in The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, then Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, I admit his stories can be a bit strange. However he gives readers plenty to think about regarding the the conscious and the unconscious mind. 

This year we'll be diving into Norwegian Wood, the book that propelled Murakami into the international spotlight. 








Synopsis:  Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.  A poignant story of one college student’s romantic coming-of-age, Norwegian Wood takes us to that distant place of a young man’s first, hopeless, and heroic love.

And should you decide Norwegian Wood isn't right for you, dive into another one of his fiction novels, explore his short stories or his non fiction essays.  A new book is being released in February in Japan, however the title and story synopsis hasn't been released yet. 

Want to find out more about Murakami -  Check out his website, follow him on facebook, peak into his interviews in Japan Times on music, jazz and the brain, and danish award


Happy Birthday, Haruki Murakami!!!!



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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, January 1, 2017

BW1: Welcome to an Adventurous Prime Reading New Year

Jonathan Wolstenholme The Complete Journey


Happy new year and welcome to Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks. Greetings to all who are joining me for another round or jumping in for the first time for a bookish adventure.

Are you ready to go spelunking around the world?   We are going to search for hidden book gems as we excavate for new as well as old reads. Have fun and delve into one book at a time or scoop up multiple books, burrow in with a classic, dig into a chunky read or shine up one of those dusty books from your shelves.   

The rules are quite simple. Read 52 Books. That's it. How you get there is up to you. To aid us in our reading adventures, we have several optional challenges which are listed in the link bar above:  Dusty and/or Chunky,  another round of 52 Books Bingo, our perpetual Well Educated Mind challenge as well as a new year long challenge, the Birthstone Bookology Reading Adventure.   The birthstones  and authors of the month are listed above in the Monthly Themes and Readalongs. Plus I'll introduce various mini challenges throughout the year to tickle your reading taste buds. As always, you may choose to travel along with me or follow your own path.  

In February, we will begin a year long read of Susan Wise Bauer's The Story of Western Science: From the Writings of Aristotle to the Big Bang Theory.   One of those books which will most certainly lead to many rabbit trails.  

Our Birthstone Bookology Reading Adventure begins in the times of the ancients.  Here's your chance to read a book set in Ancients through 100AD and check off one bingo square. :)  According to historians, the gemstones represented the twelve tribes of Israel up until the writings of Flavius Josephus in 1AD  and St Jerome in 5AD connected the 12 stones with the 12 signs of the zodiac.  It wasn't until the 18th Century in Poland when people began to wear the stone linked to their birth month. The National Association of Jewelers defined the modern list we are all familiar with in 1912.  

The birthstone of the month is Garnet.  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 Garnet.  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.  Follow rabbit trails of thought and see where they take you.  The possibilities are limitless.

I plan to start the new year with Ben Kane's historical  Spartacus: The Gladiator.  Besides having a G in the title, it is also set in Roman times during 1st century BC.  I highly recommend his Forgotten Legion Trilogy which is excellent. 

Our author of the month is Haruki Murakami, a fan favorite whom we have started out with each year.   I'll talk more about him next week since his birthday is January 12th. Join in on a readalong of Norwegian Wood or choose one of his other books if you've already read it.

Cheers to a wonderful, adventurous, reading new year! 



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For the first week, link to your I'm participating post, reading plans or to your most current review. 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, December 25, 2016

BW52: 2016 is a wrap!



Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!  Our reading year is once again drawing to a close.  I'm happy to say this year is ending with much gratitude and grace and I am looking forward with optimism to many new adventures in 2017.  We sailed the waterways of the world, dropping into different ports of call east and west of the Prime Meridian, then jumped off ship to explore North and South America.  Many of you chose to chart your own course and followed a variety of rabbit trails.

Where did your reading take you this year?  

How many books did you read and did you meet or beat your own personal goal?  Or did you get caught up in reading and forget to keep track like me?  *grin* 

What countries and time periods did you visit?

What were your most favorite stories?   Any stories that stayed with you a long time,  left you wanting more or needed to digest for a while before starting another?   Which books became comfort reads

What is the one book or the one author you thought you'd never read and found yourself pleasantly surprised that you liked it?

Did you read any books that touched you and made you laugh, cry, sing or dance.

Any that made you want to toss it across the room in disgust?

Please share a favorite cover or quote.


Congratulations on completing another reading year and thank you to all who followed our reading journeys.    Reading to me is as necessary as breathing and it is also comforting. It is an escape from the real world. I get rather crotchety without my books.  How about you?

I really appreciate you sharing your reading journeys with me. No matter what we read, whether it's fiction or nonfiction, literary or contemporary, historical or futuristic, a chunky book or a cozy, the most important thing is the reading.   I hope you had fun too as you followed your own reading paths and enjoyed your bookish journeys.  I look forward to 2017 and sharing another reading year with all of you.

Best wishes for a happy, adventurous, reading New Year!

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Link to your most current read and / or year end wrap up. 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.





Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2017 52 Books in 52 Weeks

Courtesy of Lauren Conrad 

Are you ready to join me for another round of reading 52 Books in 52 Weeks?  The rules are quite simple and how you get there is entirely up to you.  It's going to be a gem of a year as we excavate for new as well as old reads.  Whether you like unearthing one book at a time or scooping up multiple books, burrowing in with a classic, digging into a chunky read or shining up one of those dusty books from your shelves, it all averages out in the end.  The goal is to read 52 Books. 

In the past few years, we've been across and around the world by foot, car, train, plane and sea.  To aid us in our journey this year, we'll be digging deep to discover the jewels of our reading world.  We have a variety of challenges to assist with our reading voyage this year including another round of 52 Books Bingo. 

Birthstone Bookology Reading adventure which will take us around the world and through different time periods from the ancients to the present.   You can go a variety of directions with this challenge. Read a book for each letter in the birthstone of the month.  Read a book with the birthstone or the color of the birthstone in the title. Find a book set in the time period or setting where the birthstone was discovered and/or mined.    

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 2016.

Chunky Mini Challenge -  books more than 500 pages.

Well Educated Mind:  Continuing exploring the classics in 6 categories: Fiction, Autobiography, History/Politics, Drama, Poetry and Science.  

Plus we'll be doing a year long readalong of Susan Wise Bauer's The Story of Western Science as well as another round of 52 Books Bingo.  

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

So put on your hard hats, grab your shovels and pickaxes and get ready to explore.   


  1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017. 
  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, 2017. 
  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.




Monday, December 19, 2016

I'm Participating in 2017

I'm Participating in 2017 






Sunday, December 18, 2016

BW51: Happy Winter Reading Wonderland

Courtesy of Teresa


Winter is the king of showmen,
Turning tree stumps into snowmen
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes.
Smooth and clean and frosty white,
The world looks good enough to bite.
That’s the season to be young,
Catching snowflakes on your tongue.
Snow is snowy when it’s snowing,
I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going.




It is a Winnie the Pooh day today -  quite rainy and blustery,  which is quite appropriate as Winter approaches us in the Northern Hemisphere while it is officially summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Whether you are ensconced all comfy and cozy next to the fireplace or sprawled out on a sunny beach, both are perfect places to read or dream.   Can I have a rousing refrain of this year went by way too fast.  I'll be taking the last two weeks off from lessons to prepare for and celebrate  Christmas as well as work on plans for another round of 52 books.  Of course,  we are going to do it all over again.  I'll post the 2017 52 Books in 52 Weeks announcement sometime this week as well as the I'm Participating link for you to sign up.

It is also time for our Winter / Summer Solstice mini reading challenge. What words come to mind during this season?  Solstice is the two times a year when the sun is at its greatest distance from the celestial equator.  So if you want to broaden your scope, try looking up synonyms for not only solstice but also celestial, equator, or sun to name a few.  Be creative and use one of the words in the Nash poem above.  Look for a book in your stacks with the word you choose in the title.  

Have fun following rabbit trails to the book of your choice. 

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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.






Sunday, December 11, 2016

BW50: Best of 2016



Time for our annual round up of best of the year fiction and non fiction book lists, from around the web.  Grab your computer, laptop, ipad or iphone, fix yourself a nice warm cup of tea or coffee and settle down in your comfy chair and browse through just a few of the web's offerings of the best of 2016.

NPR's Book Concierge - Guide to 2016's Best Reads

Harper Bazaar's 12 Best New Books of 2016

Bill Gates pick's Favorite Books of 2016.

Washington Post's Top Ten and Best Mystery and Thrillers and Best Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Chicago Tribune's Best Poetry Books of 2016 and Chicago Librarians Picks for the best of 2016

Huffington Post's Best Self Published Books of 2016

Council of Foreign Affairs anthology of nonfiction books from the east to the west, plus political and social, economical and scientific :   Best of Books 2016

The Economists wide array of non fiction and fiction - Books of the year 2016

New York Times - The 10 Best Books of 2016 from the editors as well as 100 Notable Books 



Happy reading!




P.S.  Yes, we are going to do another round of 52 books for 2017!  

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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.





Sunday, December 4, 2016

BW49: Delectable December

Bake a Book 


Welcome to Delectable December, a month to celebrate a variety of events. From the arrival of Winter to Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, St Lucia Day, Boxing Day, and St Nicolas Day.  December is a wonderful time to curl up with a good book by the fireplace. Also a great time to gather in the kitchen, warm from baking and enjoy the results fresh from the oven. Experimenting with new recipes, fine tuning old, exploring foods unknown and chowing down on our favorite comfort food.

Every time I make stuffing or sauce for baked salmon or dressing for steamed artichokes,  hubby says this is the best one yet, what did you do differently this time. Make sure you write it down.  *grin*

Last week we talked about foodie books. Now we get to chat about cookbooks. Do you have a favorite cookbook or do you have a whole shelf of cookbooks to peruse?  Do you prefer surfing the web exploring sites such as  allrecipes.com or foodnetwork.com.  Do you print recipes and keep a favorites notebook.  Are you the create it from scratch type of cook?   Do you prefer to cook alone or the more the merrier?

Share your favorite cookbooks, recipes, cooking traditions or pictures of your cookbooks.


Happy cooking!





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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.




Sunday, November 27, 2016

BW48: Foodie Books



Thanksgiving is over and even though our tummies are stuffed with turkey and more, we're heading into the season of food.  All kinds of Christmas and Hanukkah and winter celebrations on the horizon so figured I'd present a mini challenge.  Pick a book with food in the title or about food. It can't be a straight forward cookbook because that's just too easy.   You have several ways to go with ingredients, seasoning, artistic creations, sensations, and other gastronomical delights. 


There are plenty of fun non fiction titles -  Cravings, Fresh off the Boat, Relish, In Defense of Food, The Man Who Ate Food, Relish and Salt, as well as plenty of fiction titles such as 



When in Doubt, Add Butter 


Or one of my favorite series which you can argue isn't food, but talks alot about food, The Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle.



On What Grounds


Or how about this delightful book full of magical realism and yummy recipes


Pomegranate Soup


I'm getting hungrier by the minute.  *grin*   Find all kinds of interesting books searching on  Goodreads for Foodie Books, Popular Food Fiction, Food in Book Titles as well as Bustle's 13 Books All Food Lovers Should Read, plus Bon Appetit's 20 New Food Books to Read.

~cheers~ 

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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.








Sunday, November 20, 2016

BW47: Happy Thanksgiving




I'm Thankful for You

By 

Joanna Fuchs



Thanksgiving is the appointed time
for focusing on the good in our lives.
In each of our days,
we can find small blessings,
but too often we overlook them,
choosing instead to spend our time
paying attention to problems.
We give our energy
to those who cause us trouble
instead of those who bring peace.
Starting now,
let's be on the lookout
for the bits of pleasure in each hour,
and appreciate the people who
bring love and light to everyone
who is blessed to know them.
You are one of those people.
On Thanksgiving,
I'm thankful for you.
Happy Thanksgiving!


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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.