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, July 15, 2018

BW29: Sonnet by Alice Moore Dunbar Nelson

Courtesy of Blackpast.org



Sonnet

by

July 19, 1875 - September 18, 1935


I had not thought of violets late,
The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet
In wistful April days, when lovers mate
And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.
The thought of violets meant florists' shops,
And bows and pins, and perfumed papers fine;
And garish lights, and mincing little fops
And cabarets and soaps, and deadening wines.
So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,
I had forgot wide fields; and clear brown streams;
The perfect loveliness that God has made,—
Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.
And now—unwittingly, you've made me dream
Of violets, and my soul's forgotten gleam.


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This week our Brit Trip is taking us for second visit to Dorset.  During WWII its location allowed it to be involved in the preparations for the Normandy Beach invasion.

Rabbit trails: Exercise Tiger


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Sunday, July 8, 2018

BW28: 52 Books Bingo - Cartography

Courtesy of World Atlas 


Explorin' we shall go!  One of our 52 Books Bingo categories is Cartography which is the art and science of map-making.  Read a book about maps or map-making, written by or about cartographers, historical, present and literary cartography as well as fictional maps.  Books I have enjoyed in the past are:




"The Island of Lost Maps tells the story of a curious crime spree: the theft of scores of valuable centuries-old maps from some of the most prominent research libraries in the United States and Canada. The perpetrator was Gilbert Joseph Bland, Jr., an enigmatic antiques dealer from South Florida, whose cross-country slash-and-dash operation had gone virtually undetected until he was caught in 1995–and was unmasked as the most prolific American map thief in history. As Miles Harvey unravels the mystery of Bland’s life, he maps out the world of cartography and cartographic crime, weaving together a fascinating story of exploration, craftsmanship, villainy, and the lure of the unknown."



"Maps of the Imagination takes us on a magic carpet ride over terrain both familiar and exotic. Using the map as a metaphor, fiction writer Peter Turchi considers writing as a combination of exploration and presentation, all the while serving as an erudite and charming guide. He compares the way a writer leads a reader though the imaginary world of a story, novel, or poem to the way a mapmaker charts the physical world. "To ask for a map," says Turchi, "is to say, ‘Tell me a story.’ "    With intelligence and wit, the author looks at how mapmakers and writers deal with blank space and the blank page; the conventions they use or consciously disregard; the role of geometry in maps and the parallel role of form in writing; how both maps and writing serve to re-create an individual’s view of the world; and the artist’s delicate balance of intuition with intention.A unique combination of history, critical cartography, personal essay, and practical guide to writing, Maps of the Imagination is a book for writers, for readers, and for anyone interested in creativity. Colorful illustrations and Turchi’s insightful observations make his book both beautiful and a joy to read."


as well as playing with 




"Travel through the exciting world of cartography with Map Art Lab. This fun and creative book features 52 map-related activities set into weekly exercises, beginning with legends and lines, moving through types and styles, and then creating personalized maps that allow you to journey to new worlds. Authors Jill K. Berry and Linden McNeilly guide readers through useful concepts while exploring colorful, eye-catching graphics. The labs can be used as singular projects or to build up to a year of hands-on creative experiences. Map Art Lab is the perfect book for map lovers, creative/DIY-inspired, designers. Artists of all ages and experience levels can use this book to explore enjoyable and engaging exercises. Everyone loves maps. And what's not to love? They are beautiful and fascinating, they teach you things, they show you where you are, places you long to go, and places you dare to imagine."


Check out Goodread's list of Cartography books and have fun following maps of thought.  


Plus our Brit Trip is taking us down Fosse Way to Devon:  Devon has the special distinction of being the birthplace of two English greats – Agatha Christie and Devonshire cream tea.




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Link to your reviews. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field paste a link to your post. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment telling us what you have been reading.





Sunday, July 1, 2018

BW27: July Quest Across the Alps

Courtesy of Geographical 

Grab your backpacks and your hiking boots and get ready to go mountaineering, armchair style, for our July Quest Across the Alps. We are headed to the Alpine region of Europe which runs through 8 countries:  Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia, and Switzerland. Whether you choose to take a guided or self guided tour through the region, go on a video quest for Alpine literature with Valere Staraselski, Ales Steger, Helena Janeczek, and Bernhard Aichner.  Learn more with Literature of the Alpines, Eight books inspired by chilly Switzerland,  Rick Steves Recommended Books and Movies of Switzerland and Austria, and NPR's This Trip Through the Alps is a Little Bumpy.  Also travel in the footsteps of our author choices of the month with Umberto Eco and Simonetta Agnello Hornby.  


Our Blossom Bookology flower of the month is Edelweiss which is the national flower of Austria  and a national symbol for Switzerland of rugged purity. 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 is taking us to Fosse Way where we start in Cornwall.  Located in the southwest corner of England it is surrounded by beaches and is one of the sunniest locations in England. Not surprisingly it also has a higher than average percentage of retired people as its population. It is also the setting of the English fairy tale Jack the Giant Killer.



Whether you are traipsing through the mountains or strolling the beaches, remember to stop and smell the flowers as we welcome in July and another new armchair travel adventure. 




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Link to your reviews. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field paste a link to your post. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment telling us what you have been reading.




Sunday, June 24, 2018

BW26: Halfway Down

Artist Ernest Shepard - Halfway Down




Halfway Down



By 


A. A. Milne




Halfway down the stairs
Is a stair
Where I sit.
There isn't any
Other stair
Quite like
It.
I'm not at the bottom,
I'm not at the top;
So this is the stair
Where
I always
Stop.

Halfway up the stairs
Isn't up
And it isn't down.
It isn't in the nursery,
It isn't in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn't really
Anywhere!
It's somewhere else
Instead!


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Link to your reviews. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field paste a link to your post. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment telling us what you have been reading.




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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Link to your reviews. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field paste a link to your post. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment telling us what you have been reading.






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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Link to your reviews. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field paste a link to your post. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment telling us what you have been reading.  


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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Link to your reviews. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field paste a link to your post. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment telling us what you have been reading.