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, December 10, 2017

BW50: Eating and reading through the holidays



It's time to start cooking!  December is a time of celebration  which means baking and experimenting with different recipes as well as making or remaking of the old standards. Years ago, my son and I read How to Make an Apple Pie and see the world by Majorie Priceman.  After reading the book, we followed the recipe in the back.  Such simple ingredients --- apples, cinnamon, sugar, salt, butter -- which when mixed together, created the world's best apple pie.  Absolutely delish.  

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take one of your favorite recipes and read a book with the one of the ingredients in the title. Or choose one of your favorite cookbooks and read a book with one of the colors that is on the cover. 

In the meantime, while your house is filling up with appetizing aromas and you are waiting for the timer to ding, check out a few scrumptious finds:

Foodie books for every eater and reader on your Christmas List.

Taste of Home Christmas 2017

27 Books Every Foodie Needs In Their Library

Best Food Focused Memoirs

10 of the best new cookbooks in 2017


“Give two cooks the same ingredients and the same recipe; it is fascinating to observe how, like handwriting, their results differ. After you cook a dish repeatedly, you begin to understand it. Then you can reinvent it a bit and make it yours. A written recipe can be useful, but sometimes the notes scribbled in the margin are the key to a superlative rendition. Each new version may inspire improvisation based on fresh understanding. It doesn't have to be as dramatic as all that, but such exciting minor epiphanies keep cooking lively.”   ~  David Tanis, Heart of the Artichoke: and Other Kitchen Journeys


Happy Cooking!


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Sunday, December 3, 2017

BW49: Delightful December


Gerardus Mercator's Map of the North Pole 1595


Welcome to Delightful December and our birthstone of the month, Turquoise.  We have much to celebrate this month with St. Nicholas Day, Advent, Hanukkah, St. Lucia Day, Christmas, arrival of Winter as well as Festivus for the rest of us, Iceland's Jolabokaflod, Sweden's Julbok (Yule goat) and Finland's Joulupukki.  I'm in the mood to go to the North Pole and do some cooking with Mrs  Claus.




If cold December gave you birth—
The month of snow, and ice, and mirth—
Place on your hand a turquoise blue,
Success will bless whate'er you do.
~Author unknown, "A Gem for Every Month," c.1883


Speaking of Turquoise, our birthstone of the month, 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.  Perhaps find an author whose name is Topaz or spell out the word using author names.   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.


This month, I think I'll join Harold and his purple crayon as he goes in search of the north pole in Harold at the North Pole.  


Unfortunately we won't find any penguins there, but we may find the occasional polar bear, ringed seals and Arctic foxes roaming about.   

You may want to bundle up before you read about Arctic expeditions to the North Pole with Hampton Sides - In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette or Bruce Henderson's  True North:  Peary, Cook, and the Race to the Pole as well as  Fatal North: Murder and Survival on the First North Pole Expedition

Or take a thrilling fictional trip with Alistair MacLean in Ice Station Zebra, Jack London in Call of the Wild or Lincoln Child's Terminal Freeze.  Read more about the North Pole in the New Yorker's Literature's Arctic Obsession and Ali Shaw's The Written World: The North Pole

Be sure to check out Goodread's list of Popular Arctic books as well as the Listopia of North Pole books.

Have fun exploring!  

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

BW48: Bookish notes and birthdays



As November winds down, it is time for another round of Bookish Notes and Birthdays!



A Wave of New Fiction from Nigeria: As Young Writers Experiment with Genre

Dawn Watch Explores The Life And Legacy Of Joseph Conrad

2017 Costa Book Awards Shortlist Announced

SBTB's Covers and Cocktails: Southern Hospitality

YA Books That Feature Sisters

Best Multicultural and Diverse Books about or featuring a variety of cultures.

Artist Andrew DeGraff on Cinemaps: an Atlas of 35 Great Movies

Upcoming Television Mystery Movies for December 2017  - ideas for movies to books reading.



Author Birthdays this week:  

11/26 -  William Cowper and Eugene Ionesco 

11/27 -  James Agee and Gail Sheehy

11/28 -  John Bunyan and William Blake

11/29 -  C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, Louisa May Alcott

11/30 -  Jonathan Swift and Mark Twain 

12/01 -  Rex Stout and Charles Finney

12/02 -  Elizabeth Berg and Ann Patchett



“In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.”   ― Mark Twain


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Sunday, November 19, 2017

BW47: Happy Thanksgiving

Courtesy of Mommy's Playbook

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.   I  have much to be grateful for and remember this week as our family gathers together this week to celebrate  birthdays, anniversaries and those who have gone on to eternal rest.  I am also thankful for each and every one of you who has joined our 52 Book a Week family of readers.  And yes, I'm thankful for books.  

And since we all have a cornucopia of books, read a book from your shelves or perhaps from the library this week: 


  • Has Thanksgiving in the title or any variation of thanks
  • about gratitude
  • has Thursday or the number 23 in the title 
  • Any of the symbols or synonyms of Thanksgiving
  • with Thanksgiving as the theme
  • with a turkey on the cover
  • a book with food and/or beverage on the cover
  • with a cornucopia on the cover 
  • any of the colors of the fall harvest
  • a book about food or drink
  • a book that takes place in England or New England States - Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island


Have fun following rabbit trails. What are you grateful for this week?


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Saturday, November 11, 2017

BW46: Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson - Courtesy of Wikipedia

In honor of Robert Louis Stevenson who was born November 13, 1850.


Swallows Travel To and Fro


Swallows travel to and fro,
And the great winds come and go,
And the steady breezes blow,
Bearing perfume, bearing love.
Breezes hasten, swallows fly,
Towered clouds forever ply,
And at noonday, you and I
See the same sunshine above.

Dew and rain fall everywhere,
Harvests ripen, flowers are fair,
And the whole round earth is bare
To the moonshine and the sun;
And the live air, fanned with wings,
Bright with breeze and sunshine, brings
Into contact distant things,
And makes all the countries one.

Let us wander where we will,
Something kindred greets us still;
Something seen on vale or hill
Falls familiar on the heart;
So, at scent or sound or sight,
Severed souls by day and night
Tremble with the same delight -
Tremble, half the world apart.  



Monday is Robert Louis Stevenson day in Edinburgh where they are celebrating his works and life and following in his footsteps as well as having readings of his stories.  Check out the RLS website where you will find his books, essays, and poetry online as well as a travel page dedicated to his journeys.  


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Sunday, November 5, 2017

BW45: 52 Books Bingo Mini Challenge - Finance






It's time for another mini challenge and an opportunity to complete the finance category for 52 Books Bingo.  There are a number of directions to follow.  

Read books about
  • Economics
  • Banking, 
  • Investment
  • Accounting, 
  • Marketing
  • Money management, 
  • Gambling, 
  • Biographies, 

or 


  • Spell out finance
  • Find a book with finance or synonyms related to finance in the title.
  • Make an anagram from the word finance and read a book with the word in the title.
  • Read a book with the money symbol $ and/or a picture of paper money or coins on the cover. 
  • Read about the history of finance
  • Read a fictional thriller or mystery

And if you are feeling really ambitious, check out Goodreads  Crazy Challenge Connection group's annual challenge -  Dollars and Sense and complete the challenge tasks.  

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.



Sunday, October 29, 2017

BW44: Welcome to Nonfiction November

Jonathan Wolstenholme



Wave goodbye to the ghosts and goblins of October as we embark upon the world of facts and figures with Nonfiction November as well as dive into the world of the Topaz gemstone, our birthstone of the month. This month we are celebrating All Souls Day, Constitution day, Veterans day as well as Thanksgiving here in the U.S.   Let's not forget the end of Daylight Savings time or the Look for Circles day, Forget Me Not day, Have a Hike day, Absurdity day, and last but not least, You're Welcome day.

Our birthstone of the month is the Topaz. 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 Topaz.   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.

Topaz is derived from the greek 'topazion' said to originate from the sanskrit 'tapas' meaning 'fire.' The gemstone varies from colorless to blue to yellow to brown.  Topaz is mainly mined in Brazil, but is also found in China, Japan, Russia and Australia as well as India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  The stone is one of the twelve chosen for Aaron's breastplate, the symbol for the sun god, Ra,  and the sacred stone of the Hindu's Kalpa tree.   There are many metaphysical properties attached to the stone depending on the color from knowledge to creativity to strength.

Our armchair travels are taking us through the world of nonfiction which encompasses a broad spectrum from the financial to the historical to the creative to the travelogue to the array of self help books.  Explore the familiar or dive into those topics you have been curious about but haven't read yet.

Check out Tompkin Libraries helpful guide to the Dewey Decimal System for non fiction books.   Browse through the Guardian's 100 Best Nonfiction Books of All Time, or  Goodreads Popular Nonfiction Reads.   You may also want to join in on the Nonfiction Blogging and Instagram Challenge hosted by Sophisticated Dorkiness and company.

Currently in my bookstacks are Michael Palin's (from Monty Python fame) Around the World in 80 Days and Pole to Pole,  Roland Huntford's Race for the South Pole, and Nathaniel Phibrick's In the Heart of the Sea, as well as David Grann's Lost City of Z.  

Learn something new this month and have fun following rabbit trails.



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Sunday, October 22, 2017

BW43: Prime Time Reading Fun

Courtesy of Licor43


It's time for a bit of Prime Time Reading Fun as we begin week 43 of our Adventurous Prime Reading year.  Since 43 is a prime number, let's play. 


  • Find a book with forty three in the title. 
  • Create an anagram from forty-three and read a book with the word in the title.
  • Read book #43 in your bookshelves counting from the left.
  • Read a book set in 1643, 1743, 1843, or 1943.
  • Read a book about a person born in 1943
  • Read a book set in or about Idaho, 43rd state.
  • Read a book about 43rd president
  • Read a book in Dewey Decimal category within 300 or 400 and in  the subsection .43 
  • Read a book set in the country by the scientists who discovered Technetium - Element 43 on the periodic table. 
  • Read a book set in the 43rd city and/or state in any country. 
  • Austria country code 43 allows you  to call Austria from another country so read a book set in Austria or written by an Austrian Author.
  • Go to your current read, find page 43. Count down to line 4, then left to the 3rd word.  Read a book with that word in the title or a book about that word.
  • Count the letters in your name. Did you end up with a prime number?  Read a book with a character with the same name as you. 
  • Are you 43?  Read a book published in your birth year. 
  • 4 + 3 = 7.  4 x 3 = 12.  7 + 12 = 19.  12 - 7 = 5.  4 - 3 = 1.  Plug in any of the resulting prime numbers instead of 43 to the above quests and have fun following rabbit trails.
Kudos to whoever can match it up with a spooktacular read!

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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, October 15, 2017

BW42: Happy Birthday Robert Pinsky




Courtesy of Wikipedia



Happy Birthday to poet Robert Pinsky, who is turning 77 on October 20th



Samurai Song



When I had no roof I made
Audacity my roof. When I had
No supper my eyes dined.

When I had no eyes I listened.
When I had no ears I thought.
When I had no thought I waited.

When I had no father I made
Care my father. When I had
No mother I embraced order.

When I had no friend I made
Quiet my friend. When I had no
Enemy I opposed my body.

When I had no temple I made
My voice my temple. I have
No priest, my tongue is my choir.

When I have no means fortune
Is my means. When I have
Nothing, death will be my fortune.

Need is my tactic, detachment
Is my strategy. When I had
No lover I courted my sleep.




Learn more about Robert Pinsky, who is the founder of the Favorite Poem Project as well created the MOOC course The Art of Poetry offered through Boston University and EDX.

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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, October 8, 2017

BW41: Bookish Notes and Birthdays




It is time for another round of bookish notes and birthdays.   

Congratulations to  Kazuo Ishiguro, the 2017 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.  The secretary of the Swedish academy "described Kazuo Ishiguro's writing style as a mix of Jane Austen and Franz Kafka: 'But you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix, and then you stir.'"  Ishiguro has been awarded the prize as one "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world."  Check out Literary Saloon's round up of articles discussing Ishiguro.

Neil Gaiman's Good Omens will be coming to screens in the near future with David Tennant and  Michael Sheen, playing the demon and the angel.   Plus Gaiman's All Hallows Read will be repeated this year the week of Halloween with some scary but not too scary book suggestions for kids to teens.  

Check out 8 Stellar Nonfiction Reads for World space week which runs from October 4th through the 10th. 

Tor's We Dare You to Spend the Night with These Haunted House stories

Moving on to the not so spooky with The Irish Times article: Mrs Osmond by John Banville: An entertaining homage to Henry James.


Royal History of Women's October compilation of royal women stories.

The little known visual art of E.E. Cummings.  


Birthdays:

October 8:  Science Fiction writer Frank Herbert,  and the author of Goosebumps - R.L. Stine

October 9:  Australian author Jill Ker Conway

October 10:   Yugoslavian novelist and 1961 Nobel Prize winner for literature - Ivo Andric as well as English playwright and 2005 Nobel Prize winner for literature - Harold Pinter 

October 11:  French novelist and 1952 Nobel Prize winner - François Mauriac 

October 12: African American novelists - Alice Childress and Ann Lane Petry

October 13:  Pulitzer Prize winner Conrad Richter

October 14:  Poet e.e. cummings



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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, October 1, 2017

BW40: Spooky and Spectacular October






What lies beyond -  Witches and Vampires and Ghosts - Oh My!

Welcome to October and our celebration of all things spooky and spectacular!  Are you ready to scare yourself silly and dive into the thrilling and chilling, supernatural and psychological, the dark and the weird, Gothic and horrifically suspenseful reads. There's a bit of something for everyone - nonfiction ghost stories, contemporaryclassics, Gothic,  thrilling,  terrifying science fiction and everything in between.  From the silly to the 'afraid to sleep with the lights' out. I don't know about you, but I tend to shy away from the blood and guts horror, but enjoy the fingernail nibbling, heart palpating, goosebumps all over my body,  psychological thrillers. 


If you haven't read the staples of the genre -  Frankenstein or Dracula, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Grey, Turn of the Screw or Something Wicked This Way Comes, or the works of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, now is the time. Also be sure check out the Top Ten Contemporary Horror NovelistsFabulously Creepy Reads by 13 Women Writers, and  65 Great YA Horror Reads by Women.  Take a peek at the plethora of choices from the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award Reading list from 2016.   


I have a few interesting books on my shelves for this month including Ray Bradbury's From the Dust Returned, new to me author Mindy McGinnis's A Madness So Discreet, Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island as well as  Dean Koontz's The Husband.  


Let's not forget our birthstone of the month. You get to choose between Opal and Tourmaline.  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 Opal or Tourmaline.   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 gem is currently found. 



What spooky books are you reading this month? 




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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, September 24, 2017

BW39: Freedom to Read

Courtesy of Evellen Deconinck


This week we celebrate our freedom to read.  Books fill our lives and now come in all shapes and forms.  They are inanimate objects until you open one up and read the words on the page.   They educate and illuminate, teach powerful ideas and words, introduce old and new concepts and cultures, exposes the how's, why's and what's of life.  They can lift us up and make us laugh or fill us with sweet joy as well as sorrow. They open our eyes, hearts, souls and minds. We tear them apart and analyze, argue, debate and think about what if.  Books are readily available anywhere from libraries to book stores to grocery stories to the little library at your neighbor's house.  

There are some individuals who find those words and the thoughts created by those individual letters objectionable and seek to prevent others from reading them.  Fortunately, because we are a free country, we have the freedom to read what we want, where we want and when we want. However, with that freedom comes responsibility, especially for parents.  We are tasked individually with deciding not only how we view what we are reading and how it affects us personally, but also when our children are ready and able to understand different words or ideas or thoughts.  What's right for one child may not be right for another and it is up to the parent to decide.  Not anyone else.   We can respectfully agree or disagree with one another, but no one should take away our right to read or not read what we choose.  

Which brings us to Banned Book Week, started 35 years ago by the American Library Association Office of Intellectual Freedom, in response to challenges and requests to ban books from libraries and bookstores due to their content.  Historically, there have been challenges and bans and burnings around the world since 210bc starting with Chinese emperor Shih Huang Ti to the present with ISIS destroying books and historical documents in Mosul. 

Celebrate your freedom to read with one of many challenged books including classics and children's books as well international books banned by various governments.  Check out this article about the  massive list created by Argentine artist Marta Minujín and researchers from the University of Kassel. 


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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, September 17, 2017

BW38: September Equinox







Nothing Gold Can Stay

By 

Robert Frost 


Nature’s first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold. 
Her early leaf’s a flower; 
But only so an hour. 
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief, 
So dawn goes down to day. 
Nothing gold can stay. 



It's time to celebrate the changes of the seasons once again with the September Equinox starting on Friday, the 22nd. The beginning of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere brings on the changing of the leaves and cooler temperatures and Spring in the Southern Hemisphere brings the birth of new wildlife and wildflowers as well as warmer temperatures.

I have the colors of fall on my mind today - gold, green, yellow, red, orange as well as well as purple and blue from the flowers blooming on the morning glory and sagebrush in my yard.  So my challenge to you is two fold: Pick a color and 1) Find the color in the title or find a book about the color and/or  2) choose a book based on the color of the cover.



Such as  Ted Dekker's Circle Trilogy:







Or Clive Cussler's Inca Gold




Or Red: A History of the Redhead



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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, September 10, 2017

BW37: Happy Birthday Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver - Courtesy of Emily's Poetry Blog



Happy Birthday to poet Mary Oliver who is 81 years old today.


The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?






Find out  more about Mary Oliver as well as learn about Oliver and the Romantic Tradition as well as read her interview with Maria Shriver  and NPR's review of Oliver's selected essays Upstream.


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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.