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, November 11, 2018

BW46: Armistice Day







The Soldier

by


If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam;
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

In honor of  all those who fought in World War I, read the poignant poetry of soldiers and volunteers who served.

The First World War Poetry Digital Archive

Pan Macmillan's The Poetry of the First World War

Poetry Foundation's Poetry of World War I

Poet Luke Wright pens tribute to World War One soldiers and more from BBC

Brit Tripping 

Our Brit Trip is taking us down Watling Way to Shropshire. Shropshire is one of the most rural and sparsely populated counties in England and is well known for its hills and other natural landmarks.

Rabbit trails: Caedfael Virtual Tour Barbara Pym Wilfred Owen Edith Pargeter (aka Ellis Peters)


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Sunday, November 4, 2018

BW45: Welcome to Nonfiction November

Courtesy of Libraryskills.com

Welcome to Nonfiction November. This month we are jumping into the world of nonfiction which encompasses a wide variety of categories including but not limited to -  memoirs and essays, history and geography, comedy and cookbooks and crafts, language and technology, religion and philosophy, music and art, to law and political science, self help and travel, to writing and reference books.   

Nonfiction is no longer full of dry facts and figures and has expanded quite a bit over the years with the advent of literary or creative nonfiction essay writing which uses the literary styles and techniques of fiction to tell a factual story. 

There are a wide variety of writing books that teach the art of creative nonfiction which includes Dinty Moore's Crafting the Personal Essay and Flash Nonfiction, Peter Turchi's Maps of the Imagination, Jack Hart's A Writer's Coach, and  A Nonfiction Writers' Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University Telling True Stories.   There are plenty of entertaining, well written creative nonfiction stories such from  Joan Didion's Slouching towards Bethlehem, to Annie Dillard's The Writing Life and Anne Lamont's Bird by Bird.  Can you tell I have writing on my brain today? *grin*  

Take a look at Goodread's long list of Popular Creative Nonfiction reads and check out the variety of authors from Truman Capote, Barbara Kingsolver,  Maya Angelou to John Berendt, Frank McCourt, Neil Gaiman, and John Muir.  Take a look at Esquire's picks of the 40 Best Nonfiction Books in 2018 so far, as well as 25 Best True Crime books, plus Barnes and Nobles 50 Nonfiction Books that will make you Smarter in 2018.


Flower of the month

Our Blossom Bookology flower of the month is the Daisy.  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.



Brit Tripping

Our Brit Trip is taking us down Watling Way to Staffordshire. 

Staffordshire has a history of being a significant pottery center for centuries.



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Sunday, October 28, 2018

BW44: 52 Books Bingo - Elephant on the cover







I have heffalumps and woozles on my mind. One of the things I enjoyed when my son was young was rediscovering Babar and Horton and Dumbo. And in my recent interweb wanderings, enjoyed going down memory lane with 10 Pop Culture Elephants courtesy of mentalfloss.

Since one of our 52 Books Bingo bonus mystery squares is Elephant on the Cover, read a book with a picture on the cover, or elephant in the title, about an elephant as well as explore non fiction reads on conservation, rescue, and research. to history and culture.

“I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful one-hundred percent!” \ Dr. Seuss - Horton Hatches the Egg


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Brit Tripping

Our Brit Tip on Watling way is taking us to West Midlands this week. West Midlands has been a center of industry since the Middle Ages and the growth of the area exploded during the Industrial Revolution.

Rabbit trails: Coventry Cathedral Back to Back Terraces Cadbury More Chocolate Coventry History Sarehole Mill Wightwick Manor


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Sunday, October 21, 2018

BW43: Shakespeare week - Sonnet 43







Sonnet 43

by

William Shakespeare 

When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see, 
For all the day they view things unrespected; 
But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee, 
And darkly bright are bright in dark directed; 
Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright, 
How would thy shadow's form form happy show 
To the clear day with thy much clearer light, 
When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so? 
How would, I say, mine eyes be blessed made 
By looking on thee in the living day, 
When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade
Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay?
   All days are nights to see till I see thee,
   And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me. 

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Our brit trip on Watling way is taking us to Warwickshire, home of a fairly well known playwright - Shakespeare.


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Sunday, October 14, 2018

BW 42: Happy Birthday, P.G. Wodehouse






“What ho!" I said.
"What ho!" said Motty.
"What ho! What ho!"
"What ho! What ho! What ho!"
After that it seemed rather difficult to go on with the conversation.” 
― Wodehouse, My Man Jeeves

This week, we are celebrating the anniversary of the birthday of Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse who was born October 15, 1881 and passed away at the age of 94 on February 14, 1975. He was the author of numerous books, plays, magazine stories, play lyrics and and the creator of Jeeves and Wooster, Blandings Castle, Psmith, Ukridge, Uncle Fred and Mr Mulliner,

Dip into some of his stories online through the Literature Network, find book lists and more at Plumtopia's World of P.G. Rodehouse, and read Paris Review's 1975 interview the Art of Fiction with P.G. Rodehouse, peruse international sites dedicated to Wodehouse in the Netherlands, Russia, Italy and more. Browse Merriam-Webster's Words at Play highlights 9 Words of P.G. Wodehouse, and explore a bit of history with Orwell Foundations In Defence of P.G. Wodehouse.

Rodehouse will be honored with a memorial plaque in Westminster Abbey some time next year. 



Brit Tripping

Watling Way: Worcestershire

J.R.R. Tolkien’s aunt lived in Worcestershire and it likely is the inspiration for The Shire in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Also known for this sauce.

Rabbit trails: Witley Court and Gardens More Sauce! King John Cotswold’s Broadway


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Sunday, October 7, 2018

BW41: 52 Books Bingo - 14th Century Literature


14th Century Illuminated Manuscript



One of our 52 Book's Bingo categories is the 14th Century which ran from 1301 to 1400. Read a book written by an 14th century author, set in the 14th century, or about the 14th century.

During the 14th century, the pope transferred to Avignon, France, Edward III became King of England, then claimed the French Throne, the Hundred Years War began, the Scottish win the second war of Independence against England, the Black Plague was rampant in Europe and the Renaissance began.

Poetry flourished during this time period with the father of English poetry, Geoffrey Chaucer, Persian mystical poet Hafez, Hindu poet Vidyapati, and Christian poet Saint Catherine of Sienna. Also the rise of the alliterative verse in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, along with Pearl, Purity and Patience. Plus allegorical literature in William Langland's Piers Plowman, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales as well as Dante's Divine Comedy.

14th Century women writers included Christine de Pizan, Christine Ebner, Marguerite Porete and Julian of Norwich.

Peruse Historical Novels 14th and 15th Century stories ranging from mysteries to the black plague as well as Bookriot's 100 Must Read Medieval Historical Novels which highlights several 14th century stories including Hangman's Blind by Cassandra Clark, currently on my virtual nightstand. Plus check out Goodreads Best Books of the 14th Century as well as Popular 14th Century stories.

Have fun exploring the 14th century!

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Brit Tripping

Our Brit Trip this week is taking us to Spooky London. It is a Book a Week tradition to celebrate all things Spooky in October! Join us as we explore the dark and mysterious side of London.

Rabbit trails: Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes, Bram Stoker, 138 Piccadilly, More Bram Stoker , Haunted London, Unusual Museums

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Sunday, September 30, 2018

BW40: Spooktacular October






Hello October. Nice to meet once again. Are you ready to dive into the spooky and spectacular, ominous and thrilling, supernatural and mysterious, suspenseful world of Spooktacular October? So far this year our travels have taken us from the far East to the sands of Africa and down the Roman Roads of yesteryear. Time to jump on board our ghostly ship Portentous and sail with the wind.

My idea of scary isn't blood and guts horror, but psychological thrillers and suspense stories that give me goose bumps. Worlds full of villainous vampires and witches and warlords and monsters, both man made and natural  There's a wide variety to choose from: classic gothic reads to ghost stories to the best of Stephen King and his son Joe Hill as well as King's villains. Check out 21 Psychological Thrillers that will mess with your head, 100 Best Thrillers of all time, or 13 New Thriller Books Recommended by Bestselling Authors

James Rollins, our author of the month, is one of my favorite suspense writers and his most recent novel in his Sigma Force series, Demon Crown, is one that will keep you reading long into the night.



Synopsis: Off the coast of Brazil, a team of scientists discovers a horror like no other, an island where all life has been eradicated, consumed and possessed by a species beyond imagination. Before they can report their discovery, a mysterious agency attacks the group, killing them all, save one, an entomologist, an expert on venomous creatures, Professor Ken Matsui from Cornell University.

Strangest of all, this inexplicable threat traces back to a terrifying secret buried a century ago beneath the National Mall: a cache of bones preserved in amber. The artifact was hidden away by a cabal of scientists—led by Alexander Graham Bell—to protect humankind. But they dared not destroy it, for the object also holds an astonishing promise for the future: the very secret of life after death.



Flower of the month

The Blossom Bookology flower of the month is the Marigold which were the sacred flowers of the Aztecs. 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.

Brit Tripping

Our Brit Trip is taking us down Watling Way to Surrey this week . Surrey is one of the wealthiest counties in England, it has the highest GDP per capita and the cost of living is as high as inner London. That might explain the reason that Harry’s Uncle Vernon settled there with his family.

Rabbit trails: Nonesuch Palace Waverly Abbey Guildford Castle Abbot’s Hospital Emma’s picnic on Box Hill Alice in Wonderland Guildford Tourism Hampton Court Palace


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Sunday, September 23, 2018

BW39: September Equinox



Courtesy of imagenes hermosas de todo tipo 

Fall, leaves, Fall
by

 Emily Bronte 
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Autumn is upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere. My favorite time of year. The trees painted with burnished colors of yellow, gold, purple, and oranges. Leaves crackle and crunch underfoot during our daily walks. Crisp cool breezes mix with barbecues, football games and laughter. The promise of rain. Joy is in the air.  It is the perfect time to read a foodie book or experiment with new recipes or modify an old one.  It's also time to for a mini challenge: Read a book about the season. 

Find a book with Autumn, fall, season, equinox, September, moon, night, clock or axis on the cover.  Or with one leaf on the cover, the color of leaves, or in the title.  I think there are about 25 different types of apples including Fuji, Lady, McIntosh and Liberty. Read a book with a type of Apple in the title or one with an apple on the cover.  Even one about an apple.  This is usually the time of year I pull out How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World which has a great apple pie recipe in the back of the book. Delicious. Plus lots of ideas for rabbit trails.  Have fun brainstorming and follow lots of rabbit trails as you explore the Autumn season.  Or Spring if you live in the Southern Hemisphere.  


Brit Trip

This week we're traveling Watling Way to Sussex.  A.A. Milne lived for much of his adult life in Sussex and his Hundred Acre Woods is based upon Ashdown Forest.



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Sunday, September 16, 2018

BW38: To a Young Lady, With Some Lampreys

Courtesy of The Famous People

In honor of the John Gay, an English burlesque poet and dramatist, born September 16, 1685



To a Young Lady, With Some Lampreys

BY 

JOHN GAY


With lovers, ’twas of old the fashion 
By presents to convey their passion; 
No matter what the gift they sent, 
The Lady saw that love was meant. 
Fair Atalanta, as a favour, 
Took the boar’s head her Hero gave her; 
Nor could the bristly thing affront her, 
’Twas a fit present from a hunter. 
When Squires send woodcocks to the dame, 
It serves to show their absent flame: 
Some by a snip of woven hair, 
In posied lockets bribe the fair; 
How many mercenary matches 
Have sprung from Di’mond-rings and watches! 
But hold – a ring, a watch, a locket, 
Would drain at once a Poet’s pocket; 
He should send songs that cost him nought, 
Nor ev’n he prodigal of thought. 
Why then send Lampreys? fye, for shame! 
’Twill set a virgin’s blood on flame. 
This to fifteen a proper gift! 
It might lend sixty five a lift. 
I know your maiden Aunt will scold, 
And think my present somewhat bold. 
I see her lift her hands and eyes. 
‘What eat it, Niece? eat Spanish flies! 
‘Lamprey’s a most immodest diet: 
‘You’ll neither wake nor sleep in quiet. 
‘Should I to night eat Sago cream, 
‘’Twould make me blush to tell my dream; 
‘If I eat Lobster, ’tis so warming, 
‘That ev’ry man I see looks charming; 
‘Wherefore had not the filthy fellow 
‘Laid Rochester upon your pillow? 
‘I vow and swear, I think the present 
‘Had been as modest and as decent. 
‘Who has her virtue in her power? 
‘Each day has its unguarded hour; 
‘Always in danger of undoing, 
‘A prawn, a shrimp may prove our ruin! 
‘The shepherdess, who lives on salad, 
‘To cool her youth, controuls her palate; 
‘Should Dian’s maids turn liqu’rish livers, 
‘And of huge lampreys rob the rivers, 
‘Then all beside each glade and Visto, 
‘You’d see Nymphs lying like Calisto. 
‘The man who meant to heat your blood, 
‘Needs not himself such vicious food –’ 
In this, I own, your Aunt is clear, 
I sent you what I well might spare: 
For when I see you, (without joking) 
Your eyes, lips, breasts, are so provoking, 
They set my heart more cock-a-hoop, 
Than could whole seas of craw-fish soupe.

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Brit Trip

This week,we begin our final Roman road on Watling Way in Kent! Another jewel of England with a rich history of peace and war. It’s the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England. On clear days possible to see France from the cliffs which led to it being the site of the Battle of Britain during WWII. 

Rabbit trails: Leeds Castle, Wilkie CollinsJocelyn BrookeWartime TunnelsIan Fleming, Channel TunnelDickens




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Sunday, September 9, 2018

BW37: Bookish News and Birthdays

The Astronomy Lesson - Steven Seward 


Time for another round of Book News from the Sahara Desert region and Bookish Birthdays from around the world 

Poetry Soup, and other North African Creatives to Watch

The Book of North African Literature: Pierre Joris on Poetry and Miscegenation

The four best African cookbooks that will have you cooking like a pro

From Tradition to Destruction: The Lost Libraries of Chinguetti

Best Books to read about Egypt before you go

Literature Unchained: The Literary Scene in Tunisia Post-2011

Countries and their cultures - Mauritanians




Author Birthdays from around the world

Sept 9:  Father of modern Hindi literature - Bharatendu Harishchandra

Sept 10:  African American Poet and Harlem Renaissance writer - Georgia Douglas Johnson and American poet and leader of the Imagist movement - Hilda Doolittle

Sept 11:  Scottish Poet - James Thomson 

Sept 12: Polish science fiction author - Stanislaw Lem 

Sept 13: British author - J.B. Priestley 

Sept 14: Irish author - Bernard MacLaverty

Sept 15: American writer - Tomie dePaola 



Brit Tripping

Our Brit Trip on Akeman Street is taking us to Somerset this week.

Somerset County is famous among Regency enthusiasts as the location of Bath and was a fashionable place to take the waters. It also has a vast Roman history and Arthurian link.


Have fun exploring! 

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

BW36: Nomadic September in the heat

Sahara Desert - Courtesy of Bon Traveler

Welcome to Nomadic September where we will journey through the Sahara, the world's third largest desert in search of adventure. The Sahara measures 3,320,000 square miles in Northern Africa, stretching from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, and runs through Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Western Sahara, Sudan and Tunisia. From the ancients to the culture and politics of the present, there are many rabbit trails to enjoy.



Sahara Desert 

By 



Falling in barren plains
No traces of rain in arid lands
Only footprints of spirits
Haunting their own shadows
Begging the questions
Left unanswered
By words buried into cracks

Under the unforgiving sun
And burning heat
Of the Sahara Desert
Even a cactus will bloom 
For a day and then it's done
None escape the desolate wilderness
The undulating waves of sand

Nothing but the echoes
Of passing storms
And the sounds of thunder
Remain above the surface
Of the vast emptiness


We'll also follow in the footsteps of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and/or Chinua Achebe. We'll learn more about both these fabulous authors as Chimamanda reminisces about the coincidence of growing up in Achebe's house as well as discussing Chinua Achebe at 82: “We Remember Differently”

The Blossom Bookology flower of the month is the Egyptian Lotus which is the the national flower of Egypt. You need only spell out Lotus. 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.


For those on the Brit Trip bus, our journey on Akeman Street is taking us to Wiltshire. Wiltshire has an interesting history with canals as a method of transportation, the predecessor to trains for mass goods transportation.

Rabbit trails: Wilton Windmill.


Have fun exploring!


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Sunday, August 26, 2018

BW35: Sigrid Unset and the Kristin Lavransdatter readalong

Sigrid Unset - Courtesy of wikipedia


Sigrid Unset, born May 20, 1882, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. During the presentation speech, by the chairman of the nobel committee,  Per Hallstrom said of Unset's works:  

"Her narrative is vigorous, sweeping, and at times heavy. It rolls on like a river, ceaselessly receiving new tributaries whose course the author also describes, at the risk of overtaxing the reader’s memory. This stems in part from the very nature of the subject. In the series of generations, conflicts and destinies assume a very concentrated form; these are whole masses of clouds which collide when the lightning flashes. However, this heaviness is also a result of the author’s ardent and instant imagination, forming a scene and a dialogue of each incident in the narrative without taking the necessary backward look at the general perspective. And the vast river, whose course is difficult to embrace comprehensively, rolls its powerful waves which carry along the reader, plunged into a sort of torpor. 

But the roaring of its waters has the eternal freshness of nature. In the rapids and in the falls, the reader finds the enchantment which emanates from the power of the elements, as in the vast mirror of the lakes he notices a reflection of immensity, with the vision there of all possible greatness in human nature. Then, when the river reaches the sea, when Kristin Lavransdatter has fought to the end the battle of her life, no one complains of the length of the course which accumulated so overwhelming a depth and profundity in her destiny. In the poetry of all times, there are few scenes of comparable excellence."

Unset wrote a number of historical fiction novels including the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy - The Wreath, The Wife, and The Cross








Which are available individually or in the complete Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy edition translated by Tina Nunnally




"In her great historical epic Kristin Lavransdatter, set in fourteenth-century Norway, Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset tells the life story of one passionate and headstrong woman. Painting a richly detailed backdrop, Undset immerses readers in the day-to-day life, social conventions, and political and religious undercurrents of the period. Now in one volume, Tina Nunnally's award-winning definitive translation brings this remarkable work to life with clarity and lyrical beauty.

As a young girl, Kristin is deeply devoted to her father, a kind and courageous man. But when as a student in a convent school she meets the charming and impetuous Erlend Nikulaussøn, she defies her parents in pursuit of her own desires. Her saga continues through her marriage to Erlend, their tumultuous life together raising seven sons as Erlend seeks to strengthen his political influence, and finally their estrangement as the world around them tumbles into uncertainty.

With its captivating heroine and emotional potency, Kristin Lavransdatter is the masterwork of Norway's most beloved author, one of the twentieth century's most prodigious and engaged literary minds and, in Nunnally's exquisite translation, a story that continues to enthrall."


A number of Well Trained Mind 52 Books readers are taking the plunge with Unset's Kristin Lavrandatter trilogy  and we will begin  on September 2nd.  Grab your hubbies and get them reading along as well.  Tyler Blanski of the Catholic Gentleman in his enthusiasm for the story asks "Are you Lavrans, or are you Erlend?"

We're going to take it slowly with plenty of time built in to talk about the story.  Each book has three parts and vary in length from 92 to 160 pages approximately. We'll read one part a week with an extra week or two thrown in for variations in chapter length in Book three if needed, plus reading speed and discussion.  


Book One -The Wreath
Part I  – Jorungaard   Ch 1 to 7 ( 92 pages)
Part II – The Wreath      Ch 1 – 8 (92 pages)
Part III – Lavrans Bjorgulfson  Ch 1 – 8  (100 Pages)

Book two – The Wife
Part I – The Fruit of Sin  Ch 1 – 6  (114 pages)
Part II – Husaby  Ch 1-  8 (158)
Part III – Erlend Nikulausson Ch 1 – 7 (126 pages)

Book Three – The Cross
Part 1 – Honor Among Kin  Ch 1 – 6  ( 116 pages)
Part II – Debtors  Ch 1 – 8 (160 pages)
Part III – The Cross  Ch 1 – 7 (140 pages) 

Join me in reading Kristin Lavransdatter. 


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