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, February 19, 2017

BW8: Book Festivals and birthdays


Time for a round of book festival news and bookish birthdays as I'm still traipsing around South America and hiking with Mark Adam's in Turn Right at Machu Picchu,  There are quite a few historical books about the Incas that sound intriguing including Kim McQuarries The Last Days of the Incas, and  Hugh Thomson's The White Rock,  If you haven't checked out Historicalnovels.com, they have a great selection set in precolumbian era and the Spanish conquest, 17th-20th century as well as mysteries. Fiction wise, check out goodreads list of Aztec, Maya and and Inca reads.

We may have missed the Hay Festival Cartagena 2017 in January, but there are plenty of links to all the authors involved and will most likely will be next year as well. However, start preparing yourself for the Paraty International Literary Festival which will take place late July in Brazil.

The Literary Women Festival is coming up the first weekend in March as well as the Festival Leue Literature in New York highlighting German language books. To check out festivals coming up in your area, go to the Book and Literary Festivals calendar on Everfest.




Authors celebrating birthdays this week are:


February 19:  Colombian poet and novelist José Eustasio Rivera and American writer Amy Tan

February 20:  South African novelist Alex La Guma and French novelist Georges Bernanos as well as Japanese novelist Shiga Naoya

February 21:  Humorist Erma Bombeck and novelist Anaïs Nin as well as poet W.H. Auden

February 22:  Author Edward Gorey and Australian poet John Shaw Neilson as well as Nobel prize winner and Greek novelist Giorgos Seferis

February 23:  English diarist Samuel Pepys and poet Haki R. Madhubuti 

February 24:  German author Wilhelm Carl Grimm and Polish novelist Juliusz Kaden-Bandrowski

February 25:  English author Anthony Burgess and Journalist George Schuyler

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 Your URL field 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, February 12, 2017

BW7: Happy Valentine's Week

Unicorn Kiss by Josephine Wall


Happy Valentine's Week! Cheers to candy hearts and chocolate wishes, champagne and diamond dishes, and lots of mushy kisses for the mister and the missus.  Whether you are  into the grey, hunting for  light, caught in the dark, or perhaps searching for the unknown, may you find the book you seek for this lovely week.



Laughing Song

by

William Blake


When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;

When the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene,
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing “Ha, Ha, He!”

When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread,
Come live & be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of “Ha, Ha, He!”


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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 Your URL field 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, February 5, 2017

BW6: Pick a book by the cover



Time for a mini challenge!  A few years ago I joined a challenge in which one of the tasks was to pick a book by its cover. The hard part - don't read the blurb and find out what it is about beforehand.    Easier said than done. The temptation is just too much.  Especially in person - however it is a bit easy to do when on line.  Since then I have chosen books a few times using this method and usually end up with something excellent.  Also, I couldn't pick books by authors I've already read. In the past I've utilized Amazon and wandered through the new releases.   This time, I  googled book covers 2016 and viewed images. I selected books with both covers and titles that caught my eye and intrigued me the most. 
















What do you think?  Which one should I read?  I dare you to try picking out a book based on its cover alone and see what you end up with.   Of course, you have to share. 


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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 29, 2017

BW5: Festive February

Amethyst by Alphonse Mucha


This week we wave bye bye to January and hello to Festive February.  We have lots to celebrate this month from Groundhog's Day, the Superbowl, Daytona 500, Valentine's Day, and Lincoln and Washington's birthday's to national monthly celebrations including Black History, Women Inventors, Haiku Writing, American Heart, Library Lovers and Bird Feeding.  And let's not forget Grapefruit or Barley month, Spunky Old Broads month or Adopt a Rescued Rabbit month.  As well as international celebrations of Candelmas, Fat Tuesday, New Zealand's Waitangi day and Japan's National Founding Day.



The Birthstone of the month is AmethystYou 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 Amethyst.  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. 


Historically, the Amethyst has both spiritual as well as mythological symbolism.  Derived from the Ancient Greek term Amethystos,  meaning not intoxicated, it was considered an antidote to intoxication.  It is associated with the wine God BacchusIn Hebrew, the stone's name is Aclamah and has religious significance as the 9th stone on the high priest's breastplate representing the 12 tribes of Israel.    Saint Valentine is said to have worn a ring with an Amethyst stone carved in the shape of cupid.   In the medieval period, soldiers believed the stone had healing properties, and Astrologers in the 1500's thought the stone helped with intelligence.  

The stone is primarily mined in Brazil and neighboring states, but may also be found in South Korea, Russia, India, Africa and the United States. Plus, the Amethyst is the official state gemstone for South Carolina. 

As you can see there are many rabbit trails to follow from celebrations, both cultural and historical, spanning from the ancient times to the present.  The possibilities are limitless.




Image result for Christ the Redeemer
Christ the Redeemer Monument


Since our armchair travels have taken us to Brazil, you have a variety of authors to choose from rather than a singular author flavor of the month.  Check out Goodreads Popular Brazilian Author Books  or Culture Trips 10 Best Brazilian Writers.   Spread out across the continent and check out 22 Classic and Contemporary Female Latin American Authors or 
6 Nobel Prize Winning authors from Latin America.  



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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 22, 2017

BW4: The Shape of Culture - Past, Present, and Future





Does when and where you are born really matter or is it who you are born to that shapes you?  How much does the culture of family, your community, your town play into your thoughts, ideas and speech? The south is ingrained in my soul.  I’ve lived in California now for more than half my life but I’ll always be a southerner at heart.  I’m a bundle of contradictions, my speech riddled with hey and howdy and y’all along with like and awesome and dude.

When I was in the fifth grade, we moved to California.  Culture shock.  I’d left behind friendly voices,  the refrain of “Y’all come back now, ya hear”  and chit chat at the check-out counter, exchanging it for bored clerks who ignored me while they chatted among themselves.   The kids all looked at me funny and asked why I talked so weird, their speech peppered with you guys and you know’s and here you go. “What guys and no, I don’t know and where am I going?”

I didn’t know I had an accent and that I talked with a twang, dropping my g’s both comin’ and goin’.  About a year after we moved, one of my sister’s friends called.  On my gosh, is that what I sounded like? Just imagine Hee Haw and you’ll get it because it just doesn’t translate to paper.  I was so happy when we moved south to Georgia,  back to the land of y’all and hey and friendly smiles.  No one was a stranger,  the ever present gnats at dusk making everyone think you were waving at them.

Football and bowling, stealing the other school’s mascot, cruising through Sonic and playing video games at the arcade.  Pigging out on Krystal’s mini burgers and Church’s fried chicken. All sounds a little like American Graffiti.  Carefree high school days.

I’ve been in California over 30 years now and the minute I hear anyone talking with a southern drawl, I slip right back into it seamlessly. There are times I have to concentrate, speaking precisely, reminding myself not to forget those g’s at the end of ing and that not everyone likes to be called hon or sugar.

And Lord a mercy, when I’m plumb tuckered out and I still have to fix supper; when I’d ruther rest my feet and sit a spell, and have my son fetch me a drink, I sit back and wonder why the gal at the café annoyed me so much when she called me hon. 


What does this have to do with books, you ask?  This week your mission is to learn more about local and/or popular culture.  You can even let a friend choose a book for you. Either of which would satisfy a couple spots on the bingo card.  There are a wide variety of books to choose from. Check out Goodreads list of Popular Culture Books or Ideas.Ted.com Guide to Reading the World or watch Ann Morgan's My Year Reading Books from Every Country.    


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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 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