Sunday, December 22, 2019

2019 Year End Reading Wrap Up




“She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.” ~ Annie Dillard


Happy Solstice!  Join me for a cup of tea, a glass of wine or your favorite beverage as we reflect on our 52 Books rambling reading adventures the past year. Can you believe we are not only winding up 2019, but the end of a decade. We have traveled around the world and the universe. We wandered the deep blue sea and climbed the highest mountains and even explored the limitlessness of outer space. Our armchair travels have taken us through different time periods, through fictional, magical and historical journeys along with pioneers and astronauts, historians and time travelers, villains and sleuths. Ah books! The spice of life! 


Tell us about your reading year? What was your goal this year and did you have a plan, and/or follow rabbit trails or wing it?

Where did your armchair travels take you? Which books stood out, made an impression and/or stayed with you the longest? What did you learn from them?

Which book had the most original, most unique story?  


Which book made you laugh? Which one made you cry?

Which book did you like the least and why?

Which new to you authors did you discover and would you read another book by this author?

Did you try any of the main or mini challenges? If so, which Bingo category did you like the most and the least and what did you read? Which authors and/or detectives would you like to continue exploring from Whodunit Bookology.

Please share your book lists, stats for the year, favorite quotes, and/or favorite book covers.

Congratulations to all our readers and those who followed our progress. Neil Gaiman once said "Read. Read anything. Read the things they say are good for you, and the things they claim are junk. You’ll find what you need to find. Just read.” Whether you read fast or slow, listen to audio books; read fluffy, light romances or heavy classics, comedy to drama, urban fantasies to thrillers, or nonfiction to comics, the most essential thing is reading.



I appreciate each and every one of you and hope you had fun along the way. I have enjoyed sharing our reading journey and look forward to more bookish adventures. Many wishes for a happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Jolabokaflod, Christmas or Festivus to you all and cheers to a happy, enlightening, and inspiring reading new year!

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Link to your reviews and/or year end wrap up. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book or wrap up in parenthesis. In the Your URL field paste a link to your post, then check the privacy box and click enter. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment telling us what you have been reading.






Saturday, December 21, 2019

2020 Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks




“A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, 
leading out into the expanding universe.” Madeleine L’Engle


Are you ready for another Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks adventure?  The goal is quite simple and how you get there is up to you.  Where would you like your bookish travels to take you this year?  What are you in the mood for?  I'm in the mood for a something mindful or mysterious or magical, mayhap even mind boggling or masterful, even a bit mundane.  How about you?   Whether you read fiction or nonfiction, like to explore outside your comfort zone with new to you authors or genres,  or love to read the same books over again or stick to the tried and true, then this is the place for you.  

There are two updated challenges to tease your reading palate:  2020 52 Books Bingo with 20 bonus squares to celebrate the beginning of a new decade, and Ladies of Fiction Bookology, our author of the month and spelling challenge.  

We also have a variety of weekly, monthly mini challenges and perpetual challenges  including: 

Well Educated Mind --  Continue to explore the classics in 6 categories: Fiction, Autobiography, History/Politics, Drama, Poetry and Science. 

Agatha Christie  --  read at least three of her books per year.  Read the books in chronological order as listed, group by detective or collection, or randomly if you choose. 

Brit Tripping --- A year long mystery read traveling the Roman Roads through England reading reading a book from each of the 45 counties with a few extra trips to London. 

Plus Sounds of Silence, Mind Voyages, A to Z, Dusty and Chunky, and Feed Your Muse

The mini and perpetual challenges are all optional, Mix them up anyway you like or follow your own path in the quest to read.  


  • The challenge will run from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 
  • Our book weeks begin on Sunday
  • Week one begins Wednesday, January 1 and run through January 11. 
  • 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, 2020
  • Books may overlap other challenges. 
  • If you have an blog, create an entry post linking to this blog. 
  • Sign up in the "I'm participating post" in the sidebar
  • If you don't have a blog or social media account, post about your reads in the comments section of each weekly post. 
  • The link widget will be added to the bottom of each weekly post for you to link to reviews of your reads. The link widget closes at the end of each book week. 



Sunday, December 15, 2019

BW51: Happy Birthday Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke - Courtesy of the Telegraph


December 16th is the anniversary of the birthday of Arthur C. Clarke who passed away at the age of 90 on March 19, 2008.

When I think of Arthur C. Clarke, generally the first thing that comes to mind is 2001: A Space Odyssey. He also co-created the film with Stanley Kubrick.  He went on to write 2010: Odyssey Two, 2061: Odyssey Three and 3001: The Final Odyssey as well as numerous other books.

Surprisingly, Clarke never received any awards for the novel 2001: a Space Odyssey, but the movie received a Hugo Award in 1969 for Best Dramatic Presentation in a theatrical version. Clarke did receive the Hugo award for Foundations of Paradise in 1980 and Rendezvous with Rama in 1974. He was nominated for a Hugo for 2010: A Space Odyssey in 1982 and A Fall of Moondust in 1963.

Clarke loved science and built his very first telescope at the age of 13. In 1945 he wrote a technical paper "Extra Terrestrial Relays" in which he wrote the principles for satellite communications which led to the global satellites systems we use today. In 1949 he became Chairman of the British Interplanetary Society. 


According to the Clarke Foundation:

"Clarke's work, which led to the global satellite systems in use today, brought him numerous honors including the 1982 Marconi International Fellowship, a gold medal of the Franklin Institute, the Vikram Sarabhai Professorship of the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, the Lindbergh Award and a Fellowship of King's College, London. Today, the geostationary orbit at 36,000 kilometers above the equator is named The Clarke Orbit by the International Astronomical Union."

Clarke wrote a number of interesting non fiction books about exploring space and the sea including Interplanetary Flight (1950) about rockets, orbital mechanics and space, Exploration of Space (1951) About the possibilities of space exploration, Exploration of the Moon (1954) and the possibilities of future space travel and Young travelers in Space (1954) History of rocket development and satellite launches. He also spent years exploring the great barrier reef and wrote several books about underwater exploration: The Coast of Coral (1956) about his adventures and mishaps which exploring the great barrier reef, Boy Beneath the Sea (1958), and The Challenge of the Sea (1960) about deep sea exploration and the future.

Arthur Clarke made many predictions over the years and seven have come true

He also came up with the "Three Laws" of prediction:
  • When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  • The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  • Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
What do you think of his Three Laws?




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Saturday, December 14, 2019

I'm participating in 2020



2020 Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks


Welcome to our annual Read 52 Books in 52 Week Reading Adventure.  In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of your blog (if you have one). In the Your URL field paste a link to your post, then check the privacy box and click enter. Please introduce yourself in the comments and include your name and your tentative reading plans for the year. Please share if you have a Goodreads, Google+, Tumblers, or Instagram page and leave the url address in the comments as well.









Sunday, December 8, 2019

BW50: 52 Books Bingo -- Nature and Allegory





I'm currently working on the categories for our 2020 52 Books Bingo and having fun coming up with new and different categories to amuse your reading palates. As we wind down the year, our last two categories are Nature and Allegory. Nature may be literal or symbolic which pairs up quite nicely with allegory, a narrative that take an abstract look at characters and events.

Bookriot: 50 Must-Read Books On Nature and Science.

Bookauthority: 76 best nature books of all time.

Chicago Review of Books: The Best Nature Books of 2019, Part 2

Goodreads: Best Nature Books and Popular Human Nature Books and Allegorical Socialism and Communism in Fiction

Sandra Neily's The Beauty and Value of Nature-Based Fiction

19 children's books you need to re-read as an adult

Have fun following rabbit trails!

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Sunday, December 1, 2019

BW49: Whodunit Bookology - Gabriel Allon




Our whodunit bookology detective for December is Gabriel Allon, created by Daniel Silva. The character is a former Israeli intelligence operative, who retired and became an art restorer but gets pulled out of retirement to catch a terrorist.

There are a variety of ways to complete this challenge with plenty of rabbit trails. Read a book with one or more of the following (but not limited too) and have fun exploring a variety of places and topics:



  • One book per letter in the character's first or last name.
  • One book per letter in the author's first or last name.
  • If you're feeling really ambitious, one book per letter in the character's first and last name.
  • Follow in the character's footsteps and read a book set in the country or time frame of the story.
  • Follow in the author's footsteps and read a book set in their place or time of birth.
  • Read a book with the first or last name of the character or author in the title.
  • Read the first book in the series.

Daniel Silva's 19th book in the Gabriel Allon series, The New Girl, was released in July 2019. Learn more about the author and his thoughts on Pop Culture, on seeing his thriller plots come true, and how he celebrates the art world via superspy Gabriel Allon.


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If you'd like to share your book reviews, you may link to your website, blog, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblers, or Instagram page. If you do not have any internet or social media account, please leave a comment to let us know what you are reading. Please do not add links of 52 Books, nonexistent or old web pages. They will be deleted. If your link disappears, please email me if you need to change or update your links. The link widget closes at the end of each book week.

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Sunday, November 24, 2019

BW48: Ode to the Orange Gourd

Ode to the Orange Gourd

by



Ode to the Orange Gourd
It’s that time of year again...
When family and friends gather together..
To share and give thanks for all that they treasure..
The young and the old, the tall and the small..
The Vegans and the Carnivores, come one come all...
There are dishes of tradition, like Turkey and stuffing..
Mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry muffins..
Green Bean casserole, and corn soufflé...
Are just some of the dishes of the day....
And of course a relish tray to take off the edge...
With that awesome Spinach dip in Pumpernickel bread...
So many desserts at this time of year...
But the favorite of all , synonymous of the Fall..
Is that Jack’O ‘Lantern, orange Gourd....
known as Pumpkin Pie...
As the children play a game of touch football...
Something that is 24-7 on this day in Fall..
As Grandpa sits in the afternoon sun...
Remembering back ..when he was young...
Then the words of “ Let’s eat “ fills the air...
And everyone sits down in their chair..
Who wants the first slice ? Dark meat or White ?
Grandpa asks...then proceeds to take the first bite..
Everyone fills their plate, till it can’t hold no more...
Yet some go back, for more and more....
Finally everyone is full...can’t eat another bite..
Till the smell of fresh coffee brings on a plight...
Aahh dessert ..and the best part of all....
“ PUMPKIN PIE “ !!!! ....It appears was a "Majority Call"..
This is “ my “ favorite time of the year....
When you mention "MY" name, everyone gives a cheer !!!
So without further adieu ...Grandpa picks up the knife...
As I am the “ MAJORITY CALL “ and receive the first slice....


~~~Happy Thanksgiving~~~

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If you'd like to share your book reviews, you may link to your website, blog, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblers, or Instagram page. If you do not have any internet or social media account, please leave a comment to let us know what you are reading. Please do not add links of 52 Books, nonexistent or old web pages. They will be deleted. If your link disappears, please email me if you need to change or update your links. The linking widget closes at the end of each book week.

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Sunday, November 17, 2019

BW47: Bookish News and Not so Bookish Birthdays





If sixty is the new forty
Then forty is the new twenty
And twenty is...slightly young.
Which would make sixty middle aged.

If sixty is middle aged,
Then eighty is getting up there,
And a hundred is...slightly old.
The point is, sixty is now here.

Sixty is here, and that's that.
No different from fifty-nine or sixty-one.
Except it's sweet. Sweet and good.
And I wouldn't change it, even if I could.


I figured it was time for another round of Bookish Birthdays and News since I'm joining the ranks of the sixty something club this week. A milestone, not a millstone, and totally in tune with 60 Perfect Reasons You Should Be Psyched About Turning 60. No matter what age you are, it's always an opportunity to celebrate. Let's celebrate with a mini challenge this week and read a book which takes place in the year you were born or was written in the year you were born.

Take a look at the New York Times Adult Hardcover Best Seller Listings which is an awesome resource. Since this has been a year of reading mysteries and crime fiction, I picked out Devil's Advocate by Morris West, a new to me author. Another good resource is Goodreads (What a shock!!!) Search for 'most popular books' along with your birth year and see what pops up.

Check out Lit Hub's series of A Century of Reading: Ten Books that Defined from the 1910's through the 1990's.

Whether you are feeling up or down, 46 Hilarious Books Guaranteed to Make You Laugh.

And just because: The First Line of Harry Potter and The Last Line of Harry Potter: A Close Reading.

Are you hooked on the new Disney Streaming Service. Me too! Celebrate with 15 Disney Channel Original Movies and Book Pairings.

Did you know November 17th is Homemade Bread day, November 20th is Absurdity Day, and November 21st is World Hello Day? Now you do!

Little known facts: Actor Danny De Vito and Saturday Night Live's producer, Lorne Michael were born November 17, 1944.

November 18 is Mickey Mouse's birthday as well as Margaret Atwood.

Larry King, Dick Cavett, and Ted Turner were all born on November 19th. Not in the same year, of course.

November 20, 1939 is Dick Smothers Birthday, the favorite smothers brother from Laugh In.

I share my birthday on November 21st with an eclectic group including Voltaire, Harpo Marx, Goldie Hawn and Marlo Thomas.

November 22nd is the anniversary of George Eliot's birthday, the author who wrote Middlemarch.

November 23rd is the anniversary William "Billy the Kid" Bonney.

And last but not least, a bit of mind filler --- November Pop Culture History.

Now, see what you can do to turn any of this information into a reading goal and challenge for yourself for next year!


~Cheers~ 

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If you'd like to share your book reviews, you may link to your website, blog, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblers, or Instagram page. If you do not have any internet or social media account, please leave a comment to let us know what you are reading. Please do not add links of 52 Books, nonexistent or old web pages. They will be deleted. If your link disappears, please email me if you need to change or update your links. The linking widget closes at the end of each book week.

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

BW46: Nonfiction November




Are you ready to dive in to the world of nonfiction? From true crime to memoirs to cooking to self help to drama and poetry, nonfiction literature is just as diverse as fiction with a wide variety of subjects to choose.


Check out Lit Hub's Preview of Fall 2019 Nonfiction for science, technology, politics, history, and biography.

Bookriot's Rebecca Hussey has compiled a list of the 20 must read works of innovative nonfiction for 2019.

She Reads has put together a compelling list of 12 must read memoirs of 2019.

For those who don't typically read nonfiction, Off the Shelf has put together a list of The Best Narrative Nonfiction Books for Non-Nonfiction Readers to dip your toes into.

Poet Jamie McKendrick recommends the Best Poetry to Read in 2019.

Need a bit of inspiration? Dive into Goodreads Popular Nonfiction Christian reads.

Penguin books offers 15 Books to Help You Learn Something new.

If you love to cook, dig into Food and Wine's 18 Essential New Cookbooks for Fall which had me craving lasagna and shrimp.

Have fun exploring nonfiction this month.

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If you'd like to share your book reviews, you may link to your website, blog, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblers, or Instagram page. If you do not have any internet or social media account, please leave a comment to let us know what you are reading. Please do not add links of 52 Books, nonexistent or old web pages. They will be deleted. If your link disappears, please email me if you need to change or update your links. The linking widget closes at the end of each book week.

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Sunday, November 3, 2019

BW45: Whodunit Bookology -- Phryne Fisher



Our whodunit bookology detective for November is Phryne Fisher, who solves mysteries set in 1920's Melbourne and was created by Kerry Greenwood who also resides in Australia.

There are a number of ways to complete the bookology challenge, including but not limited to the suggestions below:

Read the first book in the series.
Read one book per letter in the character's first or last name.
Read one book per letter in the author's first or last name.
If you're really ambitious, one book per letter in the character's first and last name.
Follow in a character's footsteps and read a book set in the country or time period of the character.

Learn more about Kerry Greenwood, her books, how Phyrne came to life , and her thoughts on crime fiction with The Garrett Podcast.


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If you'd like to share your book reviews, you may link to your website, blog, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblers, or Instagram page. If you do not have any internet or social media account, please leave a comment to let us know what you are reading. Please do not add links of 52 Books, nonexistent or old web pages. They will be deleted. If your link disappears, please email me if you need to change or update your links. The linking widget closes at the end of each book week.


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, then check the privacy box and click enter.



Saturday, October 26, 2019

BW44: Mr. Macklin's Jack O'Lantern

Courtesy of Toby Ord





Mr. Macklin’s Jack O’Lantern

by

1897-1997


Mr. Macklin takes his knife 
And carves the yellow pumpkin face: 
Three holes bring eyes and nose to life, 
The mouth has thirteen teeth in place. 
Then Mr. Macklin just for fun 
Transfers the corn-cob pipe from his 
Wry mouth to Jack’s, and everyone 
Dies laughing! O what fun it is 
Till Mr. Macklin draws the shade 
And lights the candle in Jack’s skull. 
Then all the inside dark is made 
As spooky and as horrorful 
As Halloween, and creepy crawl 
The shadows on the tool-house floor, 
With Jack’s face dancing on the wall. 
O Mr. Macklin! where's the door?


Happy Halloween 

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If you'd like to share your book reviews, you may link to your website, blog, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblers, or Instagram page. If you do not have any internet or social media account, please leave a comment to let us know what you are reading. Please do not add links of 52 Books, nonexistent or old web pages. They will be deleted. If your link disappears, please email me if you need to change or update your links. The linking widget closes at the end of each book week.

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Saturday, October 19, 2019

BW43: 52 Books Bingo - Sacred



Our next 52 books Bingo category is Sacred. Everyone's definition of sacred is personal and the rabbit trails are numerous and varied when it comes to Sacred literature from history to inspirational to spiritual growth and more.

The Scripture of Mankind by Samuel Charles Braden, attempts to define what is sacred literature and asks "What constitutes sacred literature? How does it differ from ordinary literature? Well, first of all, not in its being religious. For there is much religious literature that is not regarded as sacred; and a great deal of the content of so-called sacred literature is not necessarily directly religious at all, though indirectly it is usually in some way linked up with religion. In sacred literature are found history, legislation, poetry, letters, fables, myths, drama, genealogies, prophecy, visions, laments, martial songs, indeed almost the whole gamut of literary variety is to be found."

The Internet Sacred Text Archive is a font of online books covering religion, mythology, and folklore.

Peruse Goodreads listopia Different Takes on Religion and Spirituality to the Sacred and Secular to Desert Spirituality.

Dip your toes into Sacred Geometry or Sacred Poetry to Thoreau on the Sacredness of Libraries or dive into the Sacred Sea.

Read a book with Sacred in the title, spell it out or use a synonym.

Read an old friend that is sacred to you for its mirth, depth, ever expanding hope and joy.

Have fun following rabbit trails of thought and imagination.


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If you'd like to share your book reviews, you may link to your website, blog, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblers, or Instagram page. If you do not have any internet or social media account, please leave a comment to let us know what you are reading. Please do not add links of 52 Books, nonexistent or old web pages. They will be deleted. If your link disappears, please email me if you need to change or update your links. The linking widget closes at the end of each book week.

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

BW42: Masaoka Shiki





In honor of Masoaka Shiki, born October 14,1867, who influenced and developed the modern form of Japanese Haiku and Tanka.



Asleep in a boat
I lie side by side with it:
the River of Heaven


coolness-
a mountain stream splashes out
between houses


an old pond-
floating upside down
a cicada's shell


crimson sunset
even through clouds
vernal equinox


fallen petals of
the crimson plum I pluck
from the tatami


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If you'd like to share your book reviews, you may link to your website, blog, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblers, or Instagram page. If you do not have any internet or social media account, please leave a comment to let us know what you are reading. Please do not add links of 52 Books, nonexistent or old web pages. They will be deleted. If your link disappears, please email me if you need to change or update your links. The linking widget closes at the end of each book week.

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Sunday, October 6, 2019

BW41: October Spooktacular



Are you ready for a Spooktacular October full of chills and thrills, spine tingling adventure stories, and unexpected, jump out and surprise you, don't turn the lights off reads? If you are anything like me, gruesome horror isn't your thing. However, psychological, mind bending, Hitchcock type thrillers full of suspense are my favorite type of reads, along with paranormal, ghosts, vampires, were wolves and the weird. 

If you haven't read the classics, now would be your chance with Frankenstein or Dracula, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Grey or Something Wicked This Way Comes. Put away your expectations because you may be surprised when they don't turn out how you suspect they will.

If you need a few ideas, check out Bustle's 20 New Horror Books For Readers Who Take Spooky Season Seriously or 11 Books That Scared The Master of Horror, Stephen King, And Will Terrify You, Too, as well as 5 Classic Horror Novels You Can Finish in a Single Sitting.

Lit Reactor's The 15 Most Anticipated Horror Books of 2019

Bookriot's 25 Top Horror Books According to Goodreads or What to Read if You Love Hitchcock Movies.

Haunted Rooms 12 Best Ghost Books to Keep You Up at Night.

Vampire Book Club's Sure fire favorites for Urban Fantasy

Off the Shelf's 8 Psychological Thrillers With Twists You Won’t See Coming

I've grown quite fond of Dean Koontz amazing stories and currently have Watchers as well as Intensity along with Dan Simmons Hollow Man, Steven King's The Green Mile,  Josh Mallerman's Bird Box, and James Rollins Deep Fathom on my nightstand. Which one shall I read?

What spooktacular books will you be reading this month?

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If you'd like to share your book reviews, you may link to your website, blog, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblers, or Instagram page. If you do not have any internet or social media account, please leave a comment to let us know what you are reading. Please do not add links of 52 Books, nonexistent or old web pages. They will be deleted. If your link disappears, please email me if you need to change or update your links. The linking widget closes at the end of each book week.


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Sunday, September 29, 2019

BW40: Whodunit Bookology - Toby Peters




Our October Whodunit Bookology detective of the the month is Toby Peters, created by Stuart Kaminsky who has authored more than 50 novels and is the former president of the Mystery Writers Association.

There are a number of ways to complete the bookology challenge, including but not limited, to the suggestions below:

Read the first book in the series.
Read one book per letter in the character's first or last name.
Read one book per letter in the author's first or last name.
If you're really ambitious, one book per letter in the character's first and last name.
Follow in a character's footsteps and read a book set in the country or time period of the character.

Learn more about the character Toby Peters, the late Stuart Kaminsky, and his interviews with mystery writers in Behind the Mysteries.


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If you'd like to share your book reviews, you may link to your website, blog, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblers, or Instagram page. If you do not have any internet or social media account, please leave a comment to let us know what you are reading. Please do not add links of 52 Books, nonexistent or old web pages. They will be deleted. If your link disappears, please email me if you need to change or update your links. The linking widget closes at the end of each book week.


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, then check the privacy box and click enter.



Sunday, September 22, 2019

BW39: To Autumn by John Keats








To Autumn

John Keats - 1795-1821


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

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If you'd like to share your book reviews, you may link to your website, blog, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblers, or Instagram page. If you do not have any internet or social media account, please leave a comment to let us know what you are reading. Please do not add links of 52 Books, nonexistent or old web pages. They will be deleted. If your link disappears, please email me if you need to change or update your links. The linking widget closes at the end of each book week.


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Sunday, September 15, 2019

BW38: Proust invokes the Past

Courtesy of Wikipedia
I have Marcel Proust on my mind today. A couple years ago I read Swann's Way which is the first volume of In Search For Lost Time which includes seven volumes: 

Swann’s Way
In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower
The Guermantes Way
Sodom and Gomorrah
The Prisoner
The Fugitive
Time Regained


I had a love/hate relationship with the story. Proust is passionate about everything and long winded; his sentences flow like a river, side streams branching out in every direction. He’s a romantic at heart, with a sense of humor, analyzing everything. Sometimes I got caught up in his whirlpools of emotion and other times, I felt like I was a leaf floating on the surface of the water, bobbing along with no direction, no purpose. His stories aren’t meant to be casually read. His words require you to immerse yourself entirely, his stories  experienced and not just observed.   Check out Proust's Madeleine moment as well as Pieces of Light discussion on  Proustian Memory and the power of memory and sensory experiences.  

 “Taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, remained poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.” ~Marcel Proust 

Which led to my very own Madeliene moment.

It’s on the tip of my tongue, both physically, mentally and emotionally. A taste, a scent, that takes me back. But back to where? A fleeting memory of time past. So amazing how smells and flavors can catch me unaware, make me stop and reflect. There have been many times over the years when a scent wafted past my nose and took me back to high school, or an old house, a day on the lake, or a moment of grief.

Honeysuckle takes me back to my first home in Texas and sipping on a honeysuckle bush outside a friend’s house. I can see our block, our neighbors, long forgotten and pushed a bit further into the background of my conscious with each move. My dad was in the military so there were many moves over the years. Our house was the gathering spot and I remember long summer days and evenings playing hide-n-seek, head stands on the front lawn, and the boy next door teasing me.

Growing up and even into my 20’s, I couldn’t understand my parents fixation with food when we traveled. The concern of where and when we were going to stop and eat. Do we eat to live or live to eat? It wasn’t until later I realized it wasn’t the food, but the place. Food takes on a different flavor when we equate it with a place, use it as a placeholder for our memories. A favorite restaurant takes on a new meaning when it isn’t the food we are going for, but the camaraderie and a place to rest, think and talk.

When my mother died, dad insisted on going to one of their favorite restaurants. Little did I know they’d practically adopted the owner and the staff into the family. Surrounded by love, familiar scents and comfort food, it helped him grieve.

Favorite foods, recipes from the past passed on, not just because they taste good, but because it reminds us of mom and grandma and of bright days cooking and puttering around the kitchen, eating and playing games.

I love how Proust poetically and philosophically leads us to the point of memory. He could have very well said – It’s on the tip of my tongue. But where is the beauty in that?



In 1886, when Proust was 14, he was asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding his writing. The original manuscript was recovered and in 2003, it was sold at auction for $120,000. Below are the questions:


What is your idea of perfect happiness?
What is your greatest fear?
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Which living person do you most admire?
What is your greatest extravagance?
What is your current state of mind?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
On what occasion do you lie?
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Which living person do you most despise?
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
When and where were you happiest?
Which talent would you most like to have?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
Where would you most like to live?
What is your most treasured possession?
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
What is your favorite occupation?
What is your most marked characteristic?
What do you most value in your friends?
Who are your favorite writers?
Who is your hero of fiction?
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Who are your heroes in real life?
What are your favorite names?
What is it that you most dislike?
What is your greatest regret?
How would you like to die?
What is your motto?

How would you answer these questions? And perhaps create your very own madeleine while doing so. 

Create a perpetual challenge for yourself and join me in reading Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time.  I'll be continuing my read with In Search of Young Girls in Flower 

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Sunday, September 8, 2019

BW37: 52 Books Bingo - Medical/Legal Thrillers





Our next 52 Books Bingo category is Medical and Legal Thrillers. Medical thrillers may involve a mysterious disease such as Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain or center around doctors or medical personnel such as in Robin Cook's Coma. Legal thrillers center around lawyers and judges, legal issues, and courtroom drama such as John Grisham's The Firm or Brad Meltzer's The Tenth Justice.

The International Thriller Writers society has published several short story anthologies including Thrillers: 100 Must Reads and is a great source for writers who write all types of thrillers. Another great source is Crime Reads.

10 Best Legal Thrillers That Bring the Courtroom Drama according to Celedon Books.

ABA Journal's Pick for the Top 10 Law Novels of the Last 10 Years

BestThrillers.com The 21 Best Legal Thrillers of the 21st Century, Ranked

10 Legal Thrillers on Alafair Burke’s Bookshelf

Pinterest list of Medical Thrillers

Crimereads 9 Great Medical Thrillers chosen by a physician and the Enduring Power of the Medical Thriller.


Amazon New Releases - Legal Thrillers and Medical Thrillers

Indian Prairie Public Library All Time Faves: Medical Thrillers


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If you'd like to share your book reviews, you may link to your website, blog, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblers, or Instagram page. If you do not have any internet or social media account, please leave a comment to let us know what you are reading. Please do not add links of 52 Books, nonexistent or old web pages. They will be deleted. If your link disappears, please email me if you need to change or update your links. The linking widget closes at the end of each book week.


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, then check the privacy box and click enter.