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, March 1, 2015

BW9: March Mystification

Courtesy of Teaching with a Mountain View


Welcome to March Mystification and our author flavors of the month are Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Josephine Tey.   All month long we'll be highlighting mysteries, both puzzling and perplexing, riddles to solve and mind boggling queries. Where dime novels, cozy mysteries, whodunits and police procedurals compete with hard boiled private eyes and super sleuths.  Pull out your magnifying glasses and binoculars and get ready to snoop. 

Agatha Christie created Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Tommy and Tuppence as well as Ariadne Oliver, Harley Quin and Parkey Pyne.   I am more familiar with Poirot and Marple, than the other four, but will eventually make their acquaintance.  I haven't read anything yet by our other two authors.  Dorothy Sayers introduced readers to Lord Peter Wimsey and Josephine Tey brought us Inspector Alan Grant in her best known story The Daughter of Time as well as several others. 

Our fascination for mysteries started way back in the ancient Greece with Sophocles and Euripides who entertained folks with mystery and dramatic plays. Since then, we've fallen in like with classics mystery writers such as Edgar Allen Poe, Sherlock Holmes, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, G.K. Chesterton and Ellory Queen, among others. But least we forget, there are numerous authors presently who make us fall in love with mysteries such as some of my favorites:   Nora Roberts, James Rollins, Sandra Brown, Lisa Scottoline, Cleo Coyle, Dan Brown, Jeffrey Deavers, Lee Child and John Sandford to name a few.  

Don't know where to start - check out Mystery Authors, Mystery Writers of America, and Cozy Mystery.  You'll be following rabbit trails for days.  *grin* 

Join me in reading all things mystery for the month of March.

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History of the Medieval World - Chapter 11 (Pp 77 - 84)
The Sack of Rome (396 - 410 AD)

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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, February 22, 2015

BW8: Pick a book by the cover




Are you ready for a mini challenge?  Just realized I hadn't done any yet this year.   

Most of the time, when picking out a book at the bookstore or shopping online, I look for a familiar author or a book someone has recommended.   A few years back, a blogger friend of mine posed a challenge to pick a book based on its cover. The catch however was not to read the synopsis or reviews or anything else that would tell you what the book is about.  Pick the book, blog what you think the book is about, then read it and find out if your supposition was correct.  Easier said than done especially when you are as nosy as I am. The hard part is not  reading the excerpt on-line or if in the bookstore, reading a few pages here or there to see if it captures your attention. 

I've tried it a few times and have picked up some very interesting books using that method.  
This time, I went on Amazon and looked at  the new releases and chose books by authors I've never read, had an intriguing picture or title. I picked out some books after checking out the synopsis, but I resisted temptation and didn't read the excerpts or reviews. 

Euphoria by Lily King


Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro



Miramont's Ghost by Elizabeth Hall

Beautiful Redemption by Jamie McGuire
 
So which one do you think I should read?   I'll read the one that receives the most votes and let you know what I think of the story.   Join in the fun. Go the the library, bookstore or online and  pick a book based on its title or cover.

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History of the Medieval World - Chapter 10 (pp 72 - 76)
Cracked in Two (392 - 396 AD)

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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, February 15, 2015

BW7: She Walks In Beauty

Lord Byron by Richard Westall 1813




She Walks In Beauty 

By 




She walks in beauty, like the night
   Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
   Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
   Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
   Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
   Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
   How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
   So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
   But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
   A heart whose love is innocent!

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 History of the Medieval World - Part Two - Fractures
Chapter 9 Excommunicated (Pp 63 - 71) 

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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, February 8, 2015

BW6: Victorian Era





Our Flufferton February wouldn't be complete without mentioning the Victorian Era with ran during Queen Victoria's reign from her birth in 1807 until her death in 1901. It was the age of the English novel and the writings of Charles Dickens, William Thackary, George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans) as well as the Bronte Sisters.  The leading poets of that time were Lord Alfred Tennyson and the husband and wife duo, Elizabeth Barret Browning and Robert Browning. 

Children's literature was introduced with the writings of Lewis Carroll and Anna Sewell as well as Robert Louis Stevenson and Anthony Hope. For a bit of history, check out Children's Books in the Victoria Era from the International Library of Children's literature

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, founded by Dante Gabriel Rossetti with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Milais, tied together the arts and literature creating art, full of symbolic realism,  from the influences of poets Shakespeare, Keats and Tennyson. 

The major writers of this period are:


  • Arnold, Matthew (1822-1888)
  • Brontë, Charlotte (1816-1855)
  • Brontë, Emily (1818-1848)
  • Browning, Elizabeth Barrett (1806-1861)
  • Browning, Robert (1812-1889)
  • Carroll, Lewis (1832-1898)
  • Carlyle, Thomas (1795-1881)
  • Dickens, Charles (1812-1870)
  • Doyle, Arthur Conan (1859-1930)
  • Eliot, George (1819-1880)
  • Hardy, Thomas (1840-1928)
  • Hopkins, Gerard Manley (1844-1889)
  • Housman, A. E. (1859-1936)
  • Kipling, Rudyard (1865-1936)
  • Landon, Letitia Elizabeth (1802-1838)
  • Rossetti, Christina (1830-1894)
  • Rossetti, Dante Gabriel (1828-1882)
  • Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850-1894)
  • Swinburne, Algernon Charles (1837-1909)
  • Tennyson, Alfred (Lord) (1809-1892)
  • Thackeray, William Makepeace (1811-1863)
  • Wells, H.G. (1866-1946)
  • Wilde, Oscar (1854-1900)
  • Yeats, William Butler (1865-1939)
Check out the Victorian Web for links to many of the major authors

And to fan the flame further, Check out these lists and have fun adding to your wishlists:

Mystery Fiction set in the Victorian Era from Murder by Gaslight

Popular Victorian Era Books

Romantic Reads of the Victoria Era from Romantic Reads


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History of the Medieval World - Chapter 7 (51 - 55) and Chapter 8 (56 - 60)
Refounding the Kingdom (371-412 AD)
The Catholic Church (378-382 AD

Which brings us to the end of Part One of Unity

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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, February 1, 2015

BW5: Flufferton February

Jane Austen
Bronte Sisters




 Flufferton 

February 






Welcome to Flufferton February and our author flavors of the month: The Bronte siblings --- Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and Branwell ---  as well as Jane Austen.   Flufferton is a term coined by one of our Well Trained Mind mom's in relation to all things regency, both classic and modern.  Regency stories revolve around romance, mysteries, and the Napoleonic war. Modern fiction is set in the regency era and can run the gamut from historical romance fiction to horror to paranormal.  

The Regency era from 1811 to 1820 fell within the period of Romanticism which latest approximately from 1790's to 1850's.  Romanticism in English Literature began with the poetry of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coolridge in 1790.  By the 1820's Romanticism encompassed almost all of Europe and was influenced not only by the Bronte Sisters, but  French authors Victor Hugo and Alexander Dumas and as well as American, Italian, Russian and Polish writers. 


Jane Austen wrote six novels, which have been some of the most popular and widely read stories over the years.  Her novels:  Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion are all available on line for your reading pleasure.

There have also been many spin off's, inspired by Austen, revolving around Mr. Darcy and other characters.   Be sure to check out Laurel Natress's website dedicated to all things Austen at AustenProse.   It will keep you busy for quite a while, so might want to save it for when you have more time. 

The Bronte sisters books have been equally popular. Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre, Villette, Shirley, The Professor, High Life in Verdopolis and Juvenilia. Emily wrote Wuthering Heights and Anne produced Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Their brother, Branwell, was a painter and a poet as well and his works may be found here.



Come join me in the manor garden for afternoon tea (or a glass of wine if you prefer), and munch on tea cakes or scones, while we laze about for the day. Take a stroll among the flowers or trail your toes in the lake while diving into the stories of Jane Austen and/or the Bronte sisters.   Or wind your way down the various rabbit trails and see where it takes you.
To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment ~ Jane Austen
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History of the Medieval World - Chapter 6 (pp 41 - 50)
Earthquake and Invasion (364 - 376 AD)



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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, 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!

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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)



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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, 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! 

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

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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, 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.

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


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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. 

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. 


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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, 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
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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. 



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.