Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Welcome to the 2014 Read 52 Books in 52 Week Challenge


Also the home of  Well Educated Mind, Nobel Prize Winners, Around the World  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, 2014 through December 31, 2014. 
  2. Our book weeks will 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, 2014.
  7. Books may overlap other challenges.
  8. Create an entry post linking to this blog. 
  9. Come back and sign up with Mr. Linky in the "I'm participating post" below this post.
  10. You don't have 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 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.  

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.
 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I'm participating in 2015

I'm participating in 2015





Sunday, December 14, 2014

BW51: Armchair Traveling through the 21st Century and Beyond



Our armchair travels this year have taken us around the world and through the centuries from the twelfth to the present and into the future.  My mind voyage through the years has been interesting and intriguing, although there are a few books I never quite managed to read.  Time and time again (forgive the pun) I had the "eyes are bigger than my stomach" syndrome, courtesy of the wonderful world of ebooks.  Don't know sometimes whether e-books are a pleasure or a curse, since it is so easy to impulse shop. 

My stacks, both physical and electronic,  are full of a variety of genres from historical to British mystery to classics to thrillers to paranormal, science fiction and fantasy from all time periods.  Which is why I'll probably be doing a book buying ban at the beginning of the new year and plowing through my shelves with a read my own books challenge.  That is until I get the book buying blues and race down to my local Barnes and Noble for a book fix.  *grin*

In the past 14 years, we've seen the popularity of very graphic, young adult novels such as The Hunger Games series, and Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series.   The rise of availability of translated novels thanks to such small press publishers such as Archipelago books, and the demand for comic books and graphic novels.  I've discovered quite a few new to me urban fantasy and paranormal series thanks to Literary Escapism and other book bloggers.  There has been a resurgence of interest in classic novels thanks to university presses like Harvard University Press and availability of classics through publishers such as Penguin Classics.

We have so many resources at our fingertips now, it's mind boggling.   Which is why I love Nancy Pearl and her Book Lust series - Book Lust, More Book Lust and Book Lust to Go.  And I have so much fun scouring Goodreads lists - eclectic and interesting.

Next week we'll do a wrap up of our 2014 year of reading  (remember week 52 will take us from the 21st through the 31st)  and then we'll be ready to do it all over again.  I'll be posting I'm participating in 2014 mr linky in the next few days for those who are ready to commit to another round of read 52 books in 52 weeks. 

Happy Reading! 


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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 7, 2014

BW50: Best Books of 2014





We have three and half weeks left in the year and I have been perusing all the Best Books of 2014 lists.  Scratching my head wondering what universe I'm living in.  Although I may have read books by the authors mentioned,  I haven't read any of the books on the lists.   Hmm!  More books to add to my wishlists.  *grin*   Since it is time to start thinking about next year, thought I'd spark your appetites and pocketbooks with The Best Of Lists.




Have fun!!!!!!


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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, November 30, 2014

BW49: Delightful and inspirational December

Josephine Wall's Bubble World

What inspires you? Flowers, dogs, books, prayer, poetry, cats, children, friends, artwork, God, trees, horses, fairies, beauty, love, bubbles, family or butterflies. The list is endless since we are all unique in what inspires or delights us. Whether it is painting a picture or just looking at a masterpiece; reading a book or poetry or writing one of our own. The desire to fly, to float, or freewheel through the universe. December is a month full of celebrations: Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, St Lucia Day, Boxing Day, St Nicolas Day, and the winter solstice. All things to celebrate and which bring us inspiration. I'm declaring this month to be Delightful and inspirational December.

One of my favorite non fiction writers is Thomas Merton, a trappist monk. I read The Seventh Storey Mountain a few years ago and have been hooked on his writing ever since. He's also a name dropper, very well read,and friends with numerous authors so his books have lead me on many rabbit trails over the years. Another writer whom I found to be inspirational spiritually is Pope Benedict. Whether you are Catholic or not, he is an excellent writer and theologian. Last year I read "Jesus of Nazareth" (review) which just blew me away and made me want to read more of his books.

Writing wise, I'm hooked on several different authors who inspire my creativity including James Scott Bell, K.M Weiland, Nora Roberts,and Alice La Plante to name just a few. I generally don't read poetry, however, I'll make an exception for Robert Frost. He really speaks to me with his words such as in The Road Not Taken.

In my meandering around the internet I found the ever present Goodreads has an interesting selection of Popular inspirational reads as well as Beliefnet's Top 100 Inspirational Books Need a bit of motivation? Check out Inc.'s Top 10 Motivational Books of all time. Since I've read Think and Grow Rich, How to Win Friends and Influence people, Power of Positive Thinking and Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, I highly recommend checking it out.

What books do you find inspirational?

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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, November 23, 2014

BW48: Happy Thanksgiving


 Thanksgiving 

By 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox  (1896)

 
We walk on starry fields of white
   And do not see the daisies;
For blessings common in our sight
   We rarely offer praises.
We sigh for some supreme delight
   To crown our lives with splendor,
And quite ignore our daily store
   Of pleasures sweet and tender.

Our cares are bold and push their way
   Upon our thought and feeling.
They hang about us all the day,
   Our time from pleasure stealing.
So unobtrusive many a joy
   We pass by and forget it,
But worry strives to own our lives
   And conquers if we let it.

There’s not a day in all the year
   But holds some hidden pleasure,
And looking back, joys oft appear
   To brim the past’s wide measure.
But blessings are like friends, I hold,
   Who love and labor near us.
We ought to raise our notes of praise
   While living hearts can hear us.

Full many a blessing wears the guise
   Of worry or of trouble.
Farseeing is the soul and wise
   Who knows the mask is double.
But he who has the faith and strength
   To thank his God for sorrow
Has found a joy without alloy
   To gladden every morrow.

We ought to make the moments notes
   Of happy, glad Thanksgiving;
The hours and days a silent phrase
   Of music we are living.
And so the theme should swell and grow
   As weeks and months pass o’er us,
And rise sublime at this good time,
   A grand Thanksgiving chorus.


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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, November 16, 2014

BW47: Literary Birthdays


A few literary birthdays this week to celebrate and  add weight to your wishlists and tbr piles for 2015. 



November 16 

Jose Saramago (Nobel Prize in literature in 1998 - Portuguese novelist) 
Chinua Achebe (Nigerian novelist) 
Alexander Aleksandrovich Blok (Russian Poet)


November 17

Joost van den Vondel (Dutch poet and playwright)


November 18

Margaret Atwood ( Canadian novelist)
Sir William Gilbert (British humorist and dramatist)


November 19

Allan Tate - American Poet


November 20 

Selma Lagerlof  (Nobel Prize in literature in 1909 - Swedish novelist) 
Nadine Gordimer  (South African novelist)


November 21

Voltaire  (French philosopher)
Beryl Bainbridge (English novelist and short story)


November 22 

George Eliot, aka Mary Anne Evans (English novelist)
AndrĂ© Gide  (Nobel Prize in literature in 1947 - French Novelist)




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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, November 9, 2014

BW46 - 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

1001 Books by Peter Boxal

I received this book last Christmas and determined that  I had read 51 out of the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.  If I live to be 100 years old, that would mean I need to read 21 books a year in order read all 1001. That's not going to happen,  just because....fill in the blank with whatever excuse comes to mind. *grin*  However, I could probably manage 5 to 10 a year if I really put my heart and mind into it.  And speaking of my mind, I've already started brainstorming for 2015 since we only have 8 weeks (7 1/2 if you want to get technical) left in the year.  *facepalm*  I think everyone will agree this year has gone by way to fast. 

So I've set a new goal for myself as well as, drumroll please......decided to present you with a new mini challenge for next year.  I thought you'd appreciate the advance notice.  In order to avoid the 'my eyes are bigger than my stomach' syndrome, going to limit it to 5 books.  The five books I have chosen are:


Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres

Foucaults Pendulum - Umberto Eco

The House of the Spirits - Isabel Allende

To Kill a Mockinbird - Harper Lee

I have a few other books in my stacks and if I get to those, we'll consider them gravy.  Now the good thing is you don't even have to buy 1001 Books because the list is online.   Have fun, plan away and see what strikes your fancy. 

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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, November 2, 2014

BW45: Non fiction November

The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante

It seems appropriate that while I'm doing NaNoWriMo and working on a story to also be reading about The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante.  I joined a group of writers a few months back to study the book and we are working through the book, one chapter a month.  It's been quite enlightening as the exercises has sparked quite a few ideas for the story I'm currently editing.  

I'm more of a fiction type of gal, reading probably 95% fiction to 5% non fiction which is why declaring this month, Non Fiction November.   I have a tendency to buy a non fiction book because it sounded really interesting...at the time I bought it.  Then it gets relegated to the shelf and forgotten until I have a need for it.  This month I'm going to make an attempt to read a couple of those books.  

We've been doing a readalong of Susan Wise Bauer's History of the Ancient World  over on Well Trained Mind forums.  We're supposed to be on chapters 62 and 63 this week and I'm woefully behind, so will do my level best to catch up this month.  

Also in my stacks is The Cave and The Light: Plato versus Aristotle by Arthur Herman which has been calling my name. I always bite off more than I can chew so going to limit myself to these three books for the month and dive in with both feet. 

For those who have been reading their way through books listed in Bauer's Well Educated Mind, now would be a good time to tackle one of the recommended reads in the history or  autobiography categories.

If non fiction isn't your thing, then my challenge to you this month is to read at least one non fiction book.

Happy reading! 


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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, October 26, 2014

BW44: November - National Novel Writing Month







  National Novel Writing Month






November is coming up fast and that means it is time for Nanowrimo which is short for National Novel Writing Month.   If you aren't aware of what it is - here's the skinny:


National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write 50,000 words  by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

I've been participating since 2007 which makes November a very crazy, stressful, interesting month.  Why do I do it?  Because it challenges me to be creative.  However, going to do things a little differently this time.  I'm in the midst of editing a story, which involves a lot of rewriting.  I'm going to be a Nano rebel.  I've checked in with the powers that be and the consensus is 1 hour of editing is equal to 1000 words, so shooting for at least two hours of editing a day. Yeah!  It's doable.  Plus the sparkly idea percolating in the back of my head may just get incorporated into the story.  

My son is also participating through the Young Writer's Program and he gets to set his own writing goal.  He loves writing fan fiction and would probably write 8 hours a day if I let him.

So if you have ever had the urge to write, jump in and join the rest of the nanowrimo's. For those nonwriters among us, check out the Irish Times new book club or Russia Beyond the Headlines article on children's literature and How Dr. Dolittle became Dr. Ayobolit.

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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, October 19, 2014

BW43: Happy Birthday Ursula Le Guin

Copyright © by Marian Wood Kolisch

Tuesday, October 21st marks Ursula Le Guin's 85th birthday.  She has written over 21 novels of which, I think, she is best known for her EarthSea series.   As a matter of fact, Margaret Atwood proposed  A Wizard of Earthsea for the Wall Street Journal's latest bookclub read.

Le Guin's also published a number of short story collections, poetry as well as books for children.  She has also translated a few books including Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral and Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching; in addition to  essays about writing and life.  She has won numerous awards including the Hugo award in 1970 for The Left Hand of Darkness and in 1975 for The Dispossessed.

Yesterday I went on a book purge through my teetering stacks.  Decided if hadn't gotten around to actually reading a book in the past two or three years,  despite glancing through occasionally and returning to the pile, then it was time to go.  Unearthed The Left Hand of Darkness and it immediately called to me to read.



Synopsis:  When the human ambassador Genly Ai is sent to Gethen, the planet known as Winter by those outsiders who have experienced its arctic climate, he thinks that his mission will be a standard one of making peace between warring factions. Instead the ambassador finds himself wildly unprepared. For Gethen is inhabited by a society with a rich, ancient culture full of strange beauty and deadly intrigue—a society of people who are both male and female in one, and neither. This lack of fixed gender, and the resulting lack of gender-based discrimination, is the very cornerstone of Gethen life. But Genly is all too human. Unless he can overcome his ingrained prejudices about the significance of "male" and "female," he may destroy both his mission and himself.

Next month, she is being honored with the National Book Foundation's 2014 Medal for distinguished contribution to American Letters.  

Happy Birthday to Ursula Le Guin. 

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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.