Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge




Welcome to the 2018 

Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge


Also the home of Well Educated Mind, 52 Books Bingo, Blossom
Bookology, Mind Voyages, Dusty and Chunky, and various mini challenges. 


The rules are very simple and the goal - read 52 books.


  • The challenge will run from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018. 
  • Our book weeks will begin on Sunday
  • Week one will begin on Monday, January 1st. 
  • 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, 2018 
  • 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 each 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, June 17, 2018

BW25: June Solstice




Happy Father's day to all our dads. The June Solstice is upon us as of the 21st and we are celebrating the beginning of Summer or Winter depending on your location.  

What do you look forward to doing during summertime or wintertime?  Summer makes me think of lazing about by the pool or a beach or maybe hanging out on the patio.  Perhaps imbibing in a cocktail or a cold glass of ice tea.  During Wintertime - bundling up, brisk walks, sports, roasting coffee beans and fireplaces.  And of course, reading:  I'm in the mood to revisit some old friends, learn something new, do a bit of armchair traveling,  maybe experiment with new recipes, and follow a few rabbit trails. 

Read a book set on a beach such as Roxanne St. Claire's Barefoot Bay series or with a beach on the cover.  Better yet, read a book set on an island for 52 Books bingo.   Cozy up for some wintertime reads, put on your snowshoes for a trip through the Arctic, or pretend to go skiing.  

Read a book with summer in the title such as Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer or Ben Aaronvitch's Foxglove Summer  or winter in the title such as Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale or Italo Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler

Whip up a summer or winter cocktail and learn about mixology, discover a new to you recipe, or get ready and fire up your grill.  Discover the delights in roasting your own coffee or becoming a tea aficionado

Put on your garden gloves and get ready to dig in the dirt with The 10 Books Every Gardener Should Read or The Best Vegetable Gardening Books.  


Our Brit Trip armchair travels are taking us to Suffolk this week. Suffolk has been the home to many noted British artists and composers – Thomas GainsboroughJohn Constable, and Benjamin Britten.




Join me in a bit of Summer and/or Wintertime reading fun! 

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Sunday, June 10, 2018

BW24: 52 Books Bingo - exploring the 17th Century



One of our 52 Book's Bingo categories is the 17th Century. You may read a book written by an author or about the era or in which the story took place in the 17th Century. 

Dive into 17th Century Belguim, the Dutch Golden Age or Luxembourg,  or take a look at Stuff You Missed in History Class as well as go back in time to England. 

The 17th Century began with the Jacobean era in England and led into the Caroline,  Interregnum, and Restoration periods.  We had the emergence of John Milton, John Dryen, and John Bunyan as well as Daniel Defoe plus metaphysical poets such as Englishmen John Donne, John Cleveland,  Andrew Marvel, and Abraham Crowley.  The female writers of the time were Anne BradstreetAphra Behn,  Lady Mary Wortley MontaguMary Astell,  and  Madame de La Fayette.


Our Brit Trip is taking us to Essex this week, so dip into Wellcome Library's Local History: East Anglia and Essex for local family and individuals to read about.  Also check out Goodread's Essex, England,  Essex Life's Literary Inspirations and the Author who put Colchester on the Crime Writing Map.


Essex is located between London and the North Sea and when it united with the other Anglian and Saxon Kingdoms it created the single country that is now England. It is home to the oldest recorded town in England, Colchester (Camulodunum).


Rabbit trails: Hedingham Castle  Audley End House  Hylands House  Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall

Have fun armchair traveling as you travel through the 17th Century or following rabbit trails on the Rebels bus or exploring Essex on the Detective Bus.



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Sunday, June 3, 2018

BW23: June sojourn by bike and barge



Purple Tulip by Ozugun 


Welcome to our June sojourn by bike and barge through the western Europe's low countries of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg.  We are going to take our time and explore literary landmarks in Amsterdam, literary treasures in Belgium, and the voices and literature of writers in Luxembourg.  Plus cycle in the footsteps of Georges Simenon's fictional detective Jules Maigret and look into the heads of characters with Renate Dorrestein who recently passed away on May 4th.

We missed the beginning of the 49th Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam. However, we'll begin our literary adventures in Trompenburg Gardens for the last day listening to the poetry of Joost Baars and more.  Jump on your bike and check out  Expatica's Guide to Dutch Literature, Owlcation's Belgian Literature: Some Classic Authors and Works You Might Wish to Know, Literary Institutions of Luxembourg, as well as Goodread's Best Dutch LiteraturePopular Belgian authors, and Around the World in 80 Day's Books set in Luxembourg discussion.  

Our Blossom Bookology flower of the month are Tulips which are the national flower of the Netherlands. There are a number of directions to go for this month's challenge.    Read one book per letter using either the title and/or the first or last name of the author.  Yes, you can mix it up.  You may read a book with the name of the flower, color of the flower in the title, or on the cover.  Another possibility is a book which takes place in the time period or flower's country of origin or has some cultural significance and/or symbolism of the flower.  The choices are unlimited.

Our Brit Trip on  Ichnield Way is taking us to Hertfordshire.  Some fun literary tie-ins to Hertforshire include: Pride and Prejudice, Howards End, and Animal Farm.  

Not Hertfordshire specific but an interesting article on famous houses inspiring literary works. 

Have fun armchair traveling and following rabbit trails as you travel through the low  countries on the Rebels bus or Hertfordshire if you are on the Detective Bus.

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

BW22: Men Who March Away


This week we are celebrating the anniversary of Thomas Hardy's birthday 178 years ago.  His poem, Men Who March Away, was written and published in the Times on September 9, 1914.  He was inspired by Dorset soldiers marching to the train station on their way to fight in France during World War I.  




Men Who March Away

by

June 2, 1840 - January 11, 1928



What of the faith and fire within us
Men who march away
Ere the barn-cocks say
Night is growing gray,
Leaving all that here can win us;
What of the faith and fire within us
Men who march away?


Is it a purblind prank, O think you,
Friend with the musing eye,
Who watch us stepping by
With doubt and dolorous sigh?
Can much pondering so hoodwink you!
Is it a purblind prank, O think you,
Friend with the musing eye?


Nay. We well see what we are doing,
Though some may not see—
Dalliers as they be—
England's need are we;
Her distress would leave us rueing:
Nay. We well see what we are doing,
Though some may not see!


In our heart of hearts believing
Victory crowns the just,
And that braggarts must
Surely bite the dust,
Press we to the field ungrieving,
In our heart of hearts believing
Victory crowns the just.


Hence the faith and fire within us
Men who march away
Ere the barn-cocks say
Night is growing gray,
Leaving all that here can win us;
Hence the faith and fire within us
Men who march away.


Learn more about the life and poetry and writings of Thomas Hardy through Historic UK, Poetry Foundation, and Online Literature



The poem is fitting as it is also Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. in which we honor those who died in service to our country. The earliest observance began around the time of the civil war

"On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed.

The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle."

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Our Brit Tripp on  Ichnield Way is taking us to Buckinghamshire this week: 

Situated just outside London, Buckinghamshire is known for its scenic beauty (Grand Union Canal and Chilterns) and high property values with a long and distinguished list of residents. During WWII it was the home base of the codebreaking at Bletchly Park.





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Sunday, May 20, 2018

BW21: Bookish Birthdays



It's time for another round of Bookish Birthdays.  We have quite a variety of authors to honor this week.

May 20:  French novelist Honoré de Balzac and Norwegian novelist Sigurd Undset

May 21: Italian poet Dante Alighieri, British poet  Alexander Pope, and American novelist Harold Robbins

May 22:  Scottish author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and American author Peter Patthiessen

May 23: English Poets Thomas Hood and Sheila Wingfield, plus american writers Scott O'Dell and Margaret Wise Brown

May 24: English playwright Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, Russian novelist Mikhail A. Sholokhov, and American Novelist Michael Chabon

May 25:  English writer Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton, American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, and American author Robert Ludlum.

May 26:  American Poets Maxwell Bodenheim and Michael Benedikt 


A Guide to Reading Sigurd Undset

The bold, boisterous woman behind the classic children’s tale ‘Goodnight Moon’

Paris Review's Peter Matthiessen, The Art of Fiction No. 157

19 Thing You Didn't Know about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle



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Our Brit Tripping is taking us to Berkshire this week.

Berkshire is famous for the Royal residence at Windsor Castle and its tech industry in modern days. Historically it was well known for its famous battles including the Battle of Newbury during the Civil War.



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Sunday, May 13, 2018

BW20: Happy Mother's Day










My Mother Kept A Garden

(anonymous author) 


My Mother kept a garden,
A garden of the heart.
She planted all the good things
That gave my life it's start.
She turned me to the sunshine
And encouraged me to dream.
Fostering and nurturing
The seeds of self-esteem.
And when the winds and rain came,
She protected me enough.
But not too much because she knew
I'd need to stand up strong and tough.
Her constant good example
Always taught me right from wrong.
Markers for my pathway
That will last a lifetime long.
I am my Mother's garden.
I am her legacy.
And I hope today she feels the love
Reflected back from me.


Happy Mother's Day!

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For our Brit Trippers currently on Ichnield Way on the way to Hampshire.

We now are entering the largest county in England by population and size. Famous birthplace of novelists Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air force, and for the train enthusiasts among us, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.


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Sunday, May 6, 2018

BW19: 52 Books Bingo - Nobel Prize Winners from Scandinavian Penisula

Stockholm


One of our 52 Books Bingo categories is read a book by or about a Nobel Prize Winner.  We have a few authors from the Scandinavian Peninsula who won the Nobel Prize for Literature.   

Finland  
Frans Eemil Sillanpää -  1939


Norway
Sigrid Undset - 1928
Knut Hamsun - 1920

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson - 1903


Sweden
Tomas Tranströmer - 2011
Eyvind Johnson - 1974
Harry Martinson - 1974
Nelly Sachs - 1966
Pär Lagerkvist - 1951
Erik Axel Karlfeldt - 1931 (posthumously)
Carl Gustaf Verner von Heidenstam -1916
Selma Lagerlöf - 1909

We don't need to limit our reading choices to Nobel Prize Winners to literature.  There are a number of people who won the Nobel Prize for Peace as well as Sciences from the Scandinavian Peninsula.  The complete list broken down by country is available here or on Wikipedia.

10 Things you should know about Finnish Nobel Prize Winner Bengt Holmström

The Nobel Prize: History and Trivia

Culture Trip's Norway's Nobel Laureates 




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For our Brit Trippers currently on Ichnield Way on the way to Dorset:

Famed as one of the most beautiful locations of England, Dorset is located on the English Channel and was the birthplace of the novelist Thomas Hardy and poet William Barnes.


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Sunday, April 29, 2018

BW18: May cruise the Fjords

Courtesy of  G Adventures


Time to say goodbye to our grand walking adventures through Iceland and jump on board the good ship May. We are traveling to the Scandinavian Peninsula to  explore Norway, Sweden and Finland as we cruise the Fjords.  We are going to follow in the path of Norwegian authors Karin Fossum and Jo Nesbo as well as explore Scandinavian and Nordic literature.  Check out 11 Books that will make you book a Scandinavian vacation or take a trip back into history through historical fiction or nonfiction.

Our flower of the month is the Lily of the Valley which is the national flower of Finland.  Lilies symbolize humility, purity, and luck. They represent happiness and are supposed to protect gardens from evil. The Lily is also believed to the flower of the fairies and are called fairy ladders in Ireland.  According to biblical legend Mary's tears turned into Lily of the Valley when she cried at the cross, so are also known as Mary's tears.   Historically, King Charles IX was gifted a lily for luck on May 1, 1561, and continued the tradition, handing out flowers to the women of his court.  Royal brides Queen Victoria, Kate Middleton, and Grace Kelly used Lilies for their bridal bouquets.

There are a number of directions to go. For this month's Blossom Bookology challenge, you need only spell out Lily.   Read one book per letter using either the title and/or the first or last name of the author.  Yes, you can mix it up.  You may read a book with the name of the flower, color of the flower in the title, or on the cover.  Another possibility is a book which takes place in the time period or flower's country of origin or has some cultural significance and/or symbolism of the flower.  The choices are unlimited.

The third leg of our Brit Tripping takes us to Ichnield Way and starts  on the Isle of Wight, the famous holiday destination favored by the Victorians including Queen Victoria herself who died on the island. 

Rabbit trails: Isle of Wight WWII  Osborne House  Hauntings


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Sunday, April 22, 2018

BW17: The Listeners by Walter de la Mare





The Listeners

by

Walter De La Mare 



"Is there anybody there?" said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grass
Of the forest's ferny floor;
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller's head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
"Is there anybody there?" he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
'Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:--
"Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word," he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone. 



Learn more about Walter de la Mare, a British writers of novels, short stories and poems through the Walter de la Mare Society.   

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For our Brit Trippers, continue to follow Dere Street to Northumbria. We end the second leg of our Brit Tripping in Northumbria, previously known as Kingdom of Northumbria and has been an Angles, Danish, and Norwegian kingdom. Now it encompasses the northern tip of England and southeast of Scotland.


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Sunday, April 15, 2018

BW16: Red Shoe

Red Shoes by Lael Weyenberg



It's time for a mini challenge and an opportunity to complete the Red Shoe on the Cover category for 52 Books bingo.  Read a book with an image of a red shoe or a pair of red shoes on the cover or with Red Shoe in the title.  You can also mix it up a bit by exploring books with shoes in different shades of red as well. 
































Courtesy of Jennifer Weiner

Check out Goodread's selection of Red Shoes as well as Books with one shoe on the cover,   Find out more about the history of red shoes through Australian Ballet's Why So Fascinating, Sassy Bella's The Scarlet Heel, and Tales of Faerie's Red Shoes in fairy tales and history


For our Brit Trippers, trip on down to Tyne and Wear which is located on the Tyne River and on the North Sea making it historically a large center of shipbuilding for centuries.

Rabbit trails: Souter Lighthouse

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