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, August 13, 2017

BW33: Happy Birthday - Alfred Corn

Alfred Corn - August 14, 1943 



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



Fire: The People  


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

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

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

* * * * * 

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



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

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



Sunday, August 6, 2017

BW32: Dorothy Dunnett

Dorothy Dunnett
Courtesy of the Dorothy Dunnett Society

I am currently reading Dorothy Dunnett's  historical fiction novel Niccolo Rising set in the mid 15th Century.  It is well written and is one of those hard to put down, forget what time it is, and stay up way past your bedtime reads.  

Dorothy was born August 25, 1923 and grew up in Edinburgh.  She discovered writing at the age of 38 and during her lifetime, wrote twenty two books and helped compile two companion books detailing the historical events and characters in her books.

She started writing The Game of Kings, the first book in the Lymond Chronicles, in the late 50's.  After being rejected by British publishers, she had it published in America.  Her husband, Alistair, asked Lois Dwight Cole, the American editor of Gone With the Wind if she'd read the manuscript. Immediately upon reading the book, she offered Dunnett a writing contract.

Dunnett went on to write 6 books in the Lymond Chronicles series:

The Game of Kings
Queens’ Play
The Disorderly Knights
Pawn in Frankincense
The Ringed Castle
Checkmate

Upon finishing the Lymond series, her publisher requested she write a standalone novel about a major historical figure.  She went on to write King Hereafter, the story of the real Macbeth (not Shakespeare's version) with the premise Macbeth was Thorfinn, the Earl of Orkney.

Not satisfied with writing stand alone novels, she went on to write the 8 books series called The House of Niccolo:

Niccolò Rising
Spring of the Ram
Race of Scorpions
Scales of Gold
The Unicorn Hunt
To Lie with Lions
Caprice and Rondo
Gemini

Meanwhile, while writing both the Chronicles and the Niccolo series, she also wrote a detective series called the Dolly series,,also known as the Johnson Johnson series which were published under her maiden name, then later republished and renamed.   The series was reprinted in 2012 and all are available on Kindle.

Dorothy died at the age of 78 on November 9th, 2001 after a short illness. The Dorothy Dunnett Society had a memorial stone created in her honor in 2006 and placed near the entrance to the Scottish Writer's Museum.  




Join me in reading one or more of Dorothy Dunnett's novels.  


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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, July 30, 2017

BW31: Adventurous August

Culzean Castle - Courtesy of Zig Zag on Earth

We are officially celebrating the dog days of summer with a couple weeks of triple digit temperatures in my home state. Which is why I'm ready to do some armchair traveling as we welcome Adventurous August and travel to Scotland to read our author of the month Dorothy Dunnett as well as this month's birthstones: Peridot, Spinel and Sardonyx. August is also Admit You Are Happy and Romance Month as well as National Golf and Eye Exam month.  Plus, let's not forget Ice Cream Sandwich, Watermelon, Chocolate Chip Cookie and S'mores day as well as the all important Book Lovers Day, Bad Poetry day and Just Because day. 

We have three birthstones to choose from this month with Peridot, Spinel and Sardonyx. 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.  Mix it up a bit and use author names to spell out the stones.   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.

The original birthstone for August is Sardonyx, a combination of Sard and Onyx which is a variety of quartz and was found in the ancient Persian city of Sard.  Peridot is quite ancient and has been found in pallasite meteorites and was also found in comet dust from the 2005 Stardust robotic space probe. Ancient Egyptians mined peridot on the red sea island of Zabargad.   Spinel, found in ancient times in the mines of central and southeast Asia, were often mistaken for rubies. The stone is differentiated by it's crystal structure.  The Black Prince's ruby as well as the Timur Ruby turned out to be spinel.  

Our armchair travels are taking us into the world of Scottish literature as we virtually ride along for Edinburgh International Book Festival and be a fly on the wall for Beyond Borders International Festival as well as Edinburgh's Book Fringe celebration. Visit the Writers Museum and dive into the lives of three great Scottish writers:  Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.  Plus don't forget to visit Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott. And we can't forget the fictional world of Outlander.  

While you are busy following rabbit trails, check out 20 Scottish books everyone should read, 10 Books to make you fall in love with Scotland, and 10 memorable books for children and teens set in Scotland, as well as important works in the history of Scotland with the Scottish History reading list.    In my stacks to read this month is Niccolo Rising from the House of Niccolo series written by Dorothy Dunnett whom I'll talk about next week.  

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, July 23, 2017

BW30: Bookish Notes and Birthdays


Snow Queen by Michael Whelan

We are winding up our Science Fiction and Fantasy months and it's time for another round of bookish notes and birthdays! 

Arthur C. Clarke Award will be announced on July 27th, 2017 and the authors on the shortlist for best science fiction novel published in 2016 are: 


A Closed and Common Orbit  by  Becky Chambers
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
After Atlas by  Emma Newman
Occupy Me by  Tricia Sullivan
Central Station by  Lavie Tidhar
The Underground Railroad by  Colson Whitehead



The 2017 Sunburst Awards shortlist nominees for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic has been announced:

Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey
The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
Sleeping Giants  by Sylvain Neuvel
Necessity by Jo Walton
Last Year by Robert Charles Wilson 



Unbound Worlds4 Works of Feminist Science Fiction to read right now  and So You Want to Read the 80's: Here's where to start


Omnivoracious:   The Best Science Fiction Fantasy of 2017 so far


Valley News:  Sci Fi is the Genre of Progress 


Author Birthdays 



Robert Heinlein - 7/7/07


Dean Koontz - 7/9/45


Sheri S. Tepper - 7/16/29

Cory Doctorow - 7/17/71  -  Excerpts from July Interview in Locus Online


James Cooke Brown - 7/21/21


Gardner Dozois - 7/23/47


Barry Malzberg - 7/24/39


Aldous Huxley -  7/26/1894 


Cassandra Clare -7/27/73


Kate Elliott -  7/27/58


Robert Asprin - 7/28/46


Wil Wheaton - 7/29/72 


Cherie Priest - 7/30/75


J.K. Rowling - 7/31/65



I'm sure your wishlists and tbr piles will grow exponentially as mine has.  *grin* 

Have fun following rabbit trails! 


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





Sunday, July 16, 2017

BW29: First Hugo Award - Alfred Bester for The Demolished Man



The very first Hugo Award for excellence in fantasy and science fiction was awarded to Alfred Bester for The Demolished Man.   




"Back cover:  "In 2301 A.D., guns are only museum pieces and benign telepaths sweep the minds of the populace to detect crimes before they happen.  In 2301 A.D., homicide is virtually impossible--but one man is about to change that.   In this classic science fiction novel, the first to win the prestigious Hugo award, a psychopathic business magnate devises the ultimate scheme to eliminate the competition and destroy the order of his society.  Hurtling from the orgies of a future aristocracy to a deep space game preserve, and across the densely realized subcultures of psychic doctors, grifters, and police, The Demolished Man is a masterpiece of high-tech suspense, set in a world in which everything has changed except for the ancient instinct for murder."

The people in Bester's futuristic world are peepers and can read each other's minds.   There are three different classes of Espers - the most common class three types hear what others are thinking at the moment, Class two peepers read a bit deeper and hear inner thoughts.     Class one go even deeper and pick up on peoples most inner urges before they even think about them and are therefore all involved in law enforcement and the government.   Bester illustrates how high evolved peepers think and converse telepathically with and at each other and it looks something like this:






Which makes for some rather interesting reading until the characters start to think in cohesive patterns.  So what happens when Reich decides to break the law and is determined to find a way to disguise his thoughts.   He goes to a songwriter who teaches him a song that he won't be able to get out of his head for a month.  

"A tune of utter monotony filled the room with agonizing, unforgettable banality.  It was the quintessence of every melodic cliche' Reich had ever heard.  No matter what melody you tried to remember, it invariably led down the path of familiarity to "Tensor, Said the Tensor."  Then Duffy began to sing.

Eight, sir; seven, sir;
Six, sir; five, sir;
Four, sir; three sir;
two sir; one!
Tenser, said the Tensor
Tenser, said the Tensor 
Tension, apprehension 
and dissension have begun. 

"Oh my God!"  Reich exclaimed.

"I've got some real gone tricks in that tune," Duffy said, still playing.  "Notice the beat after 'one? That's a semi-cadence. Then you get another beat after 'begun.' That turns the end of the song into a semi-cadence, too, so you can't ever end it.  The beat keeps you running in circles, like:  Tension, apprehension, and dissention have begun.  RIFF. Tension, apprehension, and dissension has begun. Riff..."

What would be more annoying? All the people talking or getting that song stuck in your head? *grin* The Demolished Man is a fun and enjoyable read and has definitely withstood the test of time. Alfred Bester also wrote "Tiger, Tiger," which was released in the U.S. as "The Stars My Destination", plus many other short stories. He wrote the non fiction book "The Life and Death of a Satellite" in 1966. 

Be sure to check out Bester's books as well as the rest of the Hugo Award winners.


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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, July 9, 2017

BW28: Octavia Butler

Courtesy of Goodreads


Octavia Butler, born June 22, 1947, started creating stories in her head at the age of four and by the time she turned 13, was writing stories about new worlds on her mother's Remington typewriter. After college, she earned a spot in the Screenwriters Guild Open Door Program where she captured the attention of Harlan Ellison who encouraged her to do the Clarion Science Fiction Writer's workshop, where she also met Samuel Delaney.  Crossover, her first story was published in an anthology of student work.  From there, she  went on to publish twelve best selling novels as well as numerous short stories. She won several awards and is the first and only science fiction writer to win the MacArthur 'Genius' Fellowship.   Butler passed away in February 24, 2006 at the age of 59.

Clockshop launched Radio Imagination in 2016 to honor Octavia on the tenth anniversary of her death with a year long celebration including a series of performances and literary events.  As they so eloquently state:  
With Black female protagonists, radical notions of kinship, and a keen understanding of power dynamics, Butler’s writing revamped the conventions of the science fiction genre. Butler’s bold imagining of the future has come to inform the way we live now. 2016 marks the 10-year anniversary of Butler’s death.
 Exploring far-reaching issues of race, gender, power and, ultimately what it means to be human, Butler broke ground as a black woman writing science fiction—a genre dominated by white men. “I’m black, I’m solitary, I’ve always been an outsider,” The Los Angeles Times quoted Butler as saying in 1998. Her work suggested new ways of thinking and new models of working for generations of writers and artists to come

Emanuela Grinberg on CNN.com talks more about Clockwork and how Los Angeles Celebrates Octavia Butler, a Visionary among Futurists



In January of this year, Abrams ComicArts released a graphic novel edition of Kindred 




More than 35 years after its release, Kindred continues to draw in new readers with its deep exploration of the violence and loss of humanity caused by slavery in the United States, and its complex and lasting impact on the present day. Adapted by celebrated academics and comics artists Damian Duffy and John Jennings, this graphic novel powerfully renders Butler’s mysterious and moving story, which spans racial and gender divides in the antebellum South through the 20th century.

Butler’s most celebrated, critically acclaimed work tells the story of Dana, a young black woman who is suddenly and inexplicably transported from her home in 1970s California to the pre–Civil War South. As she time-travels between worlds, one in which she is a free woman and one where she is part of her own complicated familial history on a southern plantation, she becomes frighteningly entangled in the lives of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of Dana’s own ancestors, and the many people who are enslaved by him.


She has written three different series over the years:  Patternist, Xenogenesis and Parables.  SWFA provides a excellent chronological list of how to read her books.  I currently have Dawn in my stacks waiting to be read.  Find out more about Octavia through Portalist's 15 Fascinating Facts about Octavia Butler.

Join me in celebrating our author of the month and reading one of her novels this year. 


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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, July 2, 2017

BW27: Scifi July




We embracing the heat with Scifi July, our author of the month, Octavia Butler as well as this month's gemstone, Ruby.  This month we are celebrating Independence Day in the United States in honor of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, 241 years ago on July 4, 1776.  July is also National Blueberry, Hot dog, Ice Cream and Cell Phone Courtesy month.  Let's not forget Video Game day, Embrace your Geekness day, Global Hug Your Kids day as well as Ugly Truck Day and Threading the Needle Day. 

Our birthstone of the month is one of my favorites - Ruby.  Is anyone else thinking of Dorothy with her ruby red slippers.   There's no place like home.   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 Ruby.   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.

Rubies were originally discovered in Myanmar (Burma) in the ancient times and soldiers thought the stones made them invincible.  Rubies have long been believed to symbols of passion, protections and prosperity. They were traded along China's North Silk Road and the stones were buried beneath the foundations of building to secure good fortune. Thailand is the main source today and the gemstones area also found in India, Madagascar, Russia, Kenya, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  

Our armchair travels continue as we delve into Science Fiction this month.  According to the Gunn Center for the study of science fiction, the genre is the literature of the human species encountering change through science, technology, and cultural shifts as well as ideas and philosophy, alternative point of view and an approach to understanding the universe.  More simply put, it is speculative fiction about the future, taking us through time and space and parallel universes.  

The sub genres vary from alien invasion to steampunk to artificial intelligence to nanotechnology to space operas. World's Without End has always been a fun site to explore  when it comes to finding science fiction and fantasy reads.  Other sites include Unbound Worlds, Tor, and SFFworld.  Our mini challenge - Mind Voyages  - also provides a variety of Hugo and Nebula award winners and nominees from which to choose. Octavia Butler, our author of the month, won numerous awards for her science fiction short stories, novelettes and books.  I have Dawn in my book stacks to read this month and will talk more about Octavia next week. 

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






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Sunday, June 25, 2017

BW26: Pearls, Pearls, and More Pearls

Courtesy of National Geographic and John Humbert 

Do you remember back in the 90's when pearl parties were all the rage.  One of my friends hosted and I 'found' three pearls. They are still in little pink folders in my jewelry box.  Occasionally I take them out, reminisce and back in they go.  One of these days I'll figure out what to do with them.  

Have you managed to spell Pearl or read a book about pearls or by an author named Pearl or one with Pearl in the title yet?  If not, you are in luck.  This week, Monday June 26th is Pearl S. Buck's birthday.   In 1938, she was the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature - 


"for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces".

I remember reading Pearl S. Buck's books way back in my 20's, but I think it was my mother's Readers Digest condensed versions which is probably why I didn't appreciate her works as much as I should have at that age.  As we say with age comes wisdom and since I've finally developed a fondness for historical fiction, I'm ready to dive in.  How about you?  

We have many choices since she wrote over 70 books including novels, story collections, biographies, autobiographies, poetry, drama as well as Chinese translations.  Learn more about Pearl with Peter Conn's Rediscovering Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography or through writer Anchee Min's Pearl of China.  Plus check out writers following in her path at the Pearl S. Buck Writing Center and read author contributions in the Spring 2017 Literary Journal


Stories with Pearl in the title include: 






You can follow a few rabbit trails and read about Pearl Harbor, the band Pearl Jam or even art in the Islamic empire with Pearls on a String.


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, June 18, 2017

BW25: June Equinox



Happy Father's Day to all our dad's.  Are you ready for the June solstice - the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest day in the Southern Hemisphere?   The Solstice is upon us Wednesday the 21st and Summer officially begins here on the northern side of the world.   However, it seems to have arrived a few days early.    We are in the midst of a heat wave with over 100 degree temps expected for a week or more, so I'll be hibernating at home, cool and cozy.    

You can jump into summer or winter reads, depending on your location,  choosing books that are synonymous with the season. Or you can dive into one (or two or three) of those chunky and dusty books sitting on your shelves that you haven't had to time to read during the busyness of the year. A number of Well Trained Mind 52 Books readers are taking the plunge with Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, including myself. 

If you've haven't read War and Peace, now would be a great time to do so.    If you've already read the story, it is the perfect opportunity to  reread it.  I read it a few years back and devoured the story in a couple weeks, so I'm looking forward to reading it a bit more slowly and taking in all the fine details.  

Tolstoy blends history with fiction to create a fascinating, educational, classical story about war, politics, society, family, love, culture, and power. A character study during the early 1800's and impact the French invasion of Russia had upon five aristocratic families. 

Synopsis (Briggs translation):  "At a lavish party in St. Petersburg in 1805, amid the glittering crystal and chandeliers, the room buzzes with talk of the prospect of war. Soon battle and terror will engulf the country, and the destinies of its people will be changed forever. War and Peace has as its backdrop Napoleon's invasion of Russia and at its heart three of literature's most memorable characters: Pierre Bezukhov, a quixotic young man in search of life's meaning; Prince Andrey Bolkonsky, a cynical intellectual transformed by suffering in war; and the bewitching Natasha Rostov, whose impulsiveness threatens to destroy her happiness. As they seek fulfillment, fall in love, make mistakes, and become scarred by conflict in different ways, these characters and their stories interweave with those of a huge cast, from aristocrats to peasants, from soldiers to Napoleon himself. Battles, love affairs, births, deaths, changing family fortunes, unforgettable scenes of wolf hunts, Russian dancing, starlit troika rides, the great comet of 1812--the entire spectrum of human life is here in all its grandeur and imperfection."


Have I talked you into it yet?  *grin*  If you aren’t completely convinced, check out Andrew Kaufman’s Give War and Peace a Chance: Tolstoyan Wisdom for Troubled Times.  Also check out Tolstoy Therapy’s  Why Read War and Peace: Reasons why I love Tolstoy’s Masterpiece  and also his  Tips for Reading War and Peace


We're going to take it slowly with plenty of time built in to talk about the story.  There are four volumes, with three to five parts each and the epilogue.  Each volume will probably take you approximately two to three weeks depending on your reading speed, plus the density of the story.  

Volume One

Part 1  Ch 1 to 25 (110 pages)
Part 2  Ch 1 to 21 (95 pages)
Part 3  Ch 1 to 19 (100 pages)

Volume Two

Part 1 Ch 1 to 16 (56 pages)
Part 2 Ch 1 to 21 (78 pages)
Part 3 Ch 1 to 26 (79 pages)
Part 4 Ch 1 to 13 (54 pages)
Part 5 Ch 1 to 22 (75 pages)

Volume Three 

Part 1 Ch 1 to 23 (87 pages)
Part 2 Ch 1 to 39 (154 pages)
Part 3 Ch 1 to 34 (122 pages)

Volume Four 

Part 1 Ch 1 to 16 (57 pages)
Part 2 Ch 1 to 19 (49 pages)
Part 3 Ch 1 to 19 (49 pages)
Part 4 Ch 1 to 20 (60 pages)

Epilogue 

Part 1  Ch 1 - 16 (157 pages)
Part 2  Ch 1 - 12 (41 pages)

Join us in reading Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace!



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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, June 11, 2017

BW24: Happy 20th Anniversary to Harry Potter!





In 1990 the imaginary world of Harry Potter began while J.K. Rowling traveled on a train from Manchester to King's Cross.  J.K. Rowling was twenty five at the time and over a five year period, mapped out the seven books in the series.  The first book was published on June 26, 1997 by Bloomsbury Children's books, titled Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.  A year later,  the book was published in the United States as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  


This month Bloomsbury is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and has released four new editions, in both hardback and paperback of  The Philosopher's Stone, each with the crest of the family houses on the cover. The books are also available on Amazon.uk and I've ordered the whole set.   Beginning October 2017, the British Library will launch an exposition, inspired by and including Harry Potter and the history of magic.   

The story caused quite a turmoil within many religious communities leading to debates over the the use of witchcraft and magic and how it would influence children.   The controversy stirred my curiosity so I read the book and fell in love with Harry Potter's world and went on to read the whole series.  When my son was old enough to read the series, we read them together and currently listening to the series in audio book.  We're just finished Harry Potter and the Half Book Prince.


If you haven't had the opportunity to listen to the books yet, they are available on Audible.   Jim Dale is an awesome narrator, capturing all the character's voices, bringing the story alive, pulling you into their world.  

Join me this month is reading Harry Potter! 


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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.