Tag Archives: reading challenge

4 brief reviews: Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston; Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert; The Calculating Stars – Mary Robinette Kowal; Before Green Gables – Budge Wilson

I am late with this group of four books I read for the 52bookClub challenge. There has been a lot going on for me, and I get quite tired, but here they are.

Title: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Author: Zora Neale Hurston

Published: May 30th 2006

This is an interesting story in which Janie, a beautiful Black woman, tells her story to her good friend in later years. The reader gets to go along through her life as she finds her own voice and strength while living through three marriages. She was ill-treated and not respected because she was a woman, but her third husband – the love of her life – showed her more freedom and a way of living she had not experienced before. The ending of this story is not what I expected as I was so pulled into the story that I forgot how it had started.

I read this book for the 52books in 52 weeks challenge, and for now I am using it for the prompt “An ending that surprises you.” I am also using it for the Feb mini-challenge in 52 Books, for prompt “a great platonic relationship.”

Title: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Published: September 22, 2015

This is one of those books which I only read a few pages in, and that took up space on my shelf. Later, because of a reading challenge, I found it is a book I should have read long ago! But yet, perhaps this is exactly the right time.

Elizabeth Gilbert encourages the creative reader to grab inspiration when it visits and see where it leads. In many short and interesting chapters she tells it like it is as she helps one to see creativity with new understanding and the possibilities with boundless acceptance. She urges to leave fear behind and trust the process; to stop limiting and judging oneself, and to let the treasures hidden inside come out.

I read this book for the February mini-challenge in the 52BookClub reading challenge and used it for the prompt “related to the word magical.” It is a book I will likely refer to many times.

Title: The Calculating Stars

Author: Mary Robinette Kowal

Published: July 3, 2018

I enjoyed this book and had chosen it for the 52 Books Club challenge, prompt “An alternate history novel.”

The time is 1952, and a meteorite hits and obliterates the eastern coast of the US and Canada, including Washington, DC. At first, the world is in a panic, but as time goes on passivity settles in – except for those whose training tells them Earth has not much time left.
This story centers around one couple – Elma who was a pilot in WWII and is now a mathematician working as a computer (a person who does the computing of numbers before electronic computers took over), and her husband Nathaniel who is a rocket scientist. It is determined that climate change will drastically change over a very few years, and it is time to colonize the moon and other planets besides earth. Elma badly wants to be an astronaut and to be selected to go, but women are not being considered, so Elma – encouraging other female pilots – sets out to change that.
Great story, although Elma was rather whiny at times. The story gets tense over mental health issues and an officer who hates Elma and does what he can to keep her grounded.

Title: Before Green Gables

Author: Budge Wilson

Published: March 1, 2008

I loved this story! I wish I had read it earlier so that I could have told the author so when I’d written her a letter months before. At a little over half way through this story I learned of Budge Wilson’s passing the day before – March 20’21. She was a very talented award-winning author, and someone I am glad I was able to meet and correspond with for awhile. I had chosen this particular book simply because I was interested, but upon learning of the author’s passing I am using it for 52 Books challenge and the prompt “an author that is deceased.”

This is the life of Anne Shirley before she met the Cuthberts and became part of their household. Anne’s life was very difficult after she was orphaned. The families who took her in treated her more as a servant to help with babies and housework. All in all, this is a marvellously told story, true to the character of Anne, and such a wonderful lead-in to Anne of Green Gables.

Another excellent book, Budge, and thank you for your friendship and inspiration.

On that note, let people know you appreciate them!

Have you read any of these books? Any opinions?

Thanks for coming by, and .. Blessings on your day! 🙂

4 Reviews: Good Mothers Don’t – by Laura Best; A Soldier’s Sketchbook – by John Wilson; You Had Me At Hola – by Alexis Daria; When Late the Sweet Birds Sang – by Kate Wilhelm

Hi there! Ready for another four book reviews? This is quite a varied selection.

Title: Good Mothers Don’t

Author: Laura Best

Published: April 2021

This is a thought-provoking story about mental illness and a family trying to function when mental illness takes the mother away from her husband and children. Told from several points of view, it keeps the reader paying close attention.

A woman struggles to survive and exist in a world that often makes no sense to her. Her father is the one who holds her together, who understands her best, and when he dies it is as if she is cut adrift. Her world collapses around her. As she struggles to get well many changes occur in the family she had to leave.

I marvel that writers come up with such amazing stories. Laura Best is very convincing, writing as if she has personal knowledge and understanding of what goes on in the mind of someone so distraught, whose life is so disjointed, that no one in her family knows how to help her anymore. The reader wants to hang in there to find out what happens to this woman, why does she think that way and feel that way, how her life turns out and if her family wants her back.

For the Indigo challenge, I chose this book as my read for the category “A book by a local author.”
For the 52BookClub challenge, I placed it in the category “a book with multiple character POV” for prompt #25.

Laura Best is a talented Canadian author who takes the reader on a marvellous journey every time.

Title: A Soldier’s Sketchbook: the Illustrated First World War Diary of R.H. Rabjohn

Author: John Wilson

Published: March 2017

This is my selection for the 52BookClub under prompt #24 – “a book you think they should read in schools.”

This true story is about World War I from the experience and diary of 18-year-old Russell Rabjohn from Ontario, Canada. When he came of age he immediately joined the Canadian military and eventually was shipped overseas to fight. Russell began a diary September 7, 1916, which is how this book was compiled by the author who included Russell’s amazing drawings.

When it was discovered that Russell was very talented at drawing, he became the official artist for the war. This book uses his diary entries in which Russell expresses his horror of things that happened. His drawings are accurate and descriptive and give the reader more understanding of warfare at that time.

This book could be used in schools in history and in art.


Title: You Had Me At Hola

Author: Alexis Daria

Published: August 2020

This a romance novel, a genre I don’t usually read. Except for the erotic scenes, which I preferred to skip over, it was a good read. I chose it for the 52BookClub challenge and used it for prompt #32 – “a selfish character.”

It is about an actress who is quite selfish (but who has a good heart underneath her feelings of insecurity) and who is just out of a relationship gone bad publicly. She and an actor/singer with a life-changing secret he has been keeping are cast in the main roles in a remake of a telenovella. Along with the stress of feeling very uncomfortable with one another at first because of media gossip, they have to play the roles of a divorced couple who still love each other. Things get steamy, and then things get really complicated.

Title: Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang

Author: Kate Wilhelm

Published: December 1977

I chose this book for prompt #49 – “a book with a flavour in the title” for the 52BookClub challenge.

What a read! It took a little while to get into it, and I thought, “What have I gotten myself into here?” because it was slow and a trifle boring. That changed quickly enough the further I got into the story, and I discovered I was reading (listening to) a dystopian novel.
Cloning, routines, mindless obedience, breeding chambers, everyone thinking the same … except not quite everyone. One girl was exceptional. She thought and heard things apart from the others, she was creative, she was more independent. She was trouble because no one of the newer generations was supposed to do that!
This is a story that takes the reader through a generation and the changes that are bound to occur because of one different person being defiant and adventurous. When she is brought back into the fold … there is no reasonable way to prevent the continuing of what she had started.
Great story very well narrated in audio format – borrowed from library.

I hope you find these books appealing. You can see I have a wide range of interest in my reading.

Have you read any of these, or now want to?

Thanks for reading, and … Happy Musings! 🙂

My personal reading challenges

I have an account on Goodreads. If you love books then Goodreads.com is a great place to be. Each year they set up a challenge for us to challenge ourselves to read more, to set goals to read however many books we think we can or that we want to read. I enjoy challenges like that since I’m just a little competitive. And I love books.

In 2013 my goal was 25 books. I made it to 44%, having read only 11 books. Actually, if you look at my list here on my blog for what books I read that year, my total was 34. The difference is because I apparently didn’t report them all on Goodreads. Oops!

I don’t remember what my goal for 2014 was, but I reported 38 books. In actuality, I read 46.

In 2015 I met my goal of 50 books. Yay! (Plus one I didn’t report.)

This year I set a goal of 25, then decided to up it to 50 again. Once I joined the ReFoReMo challenge in March, I said – what the hey! – and reset my goal to 150 books this year. Yipes!  Not to panic, yet.  I am already 64 ahead of schedule at 71%, having read 107 as of this writing. I still have a few more titles on hold at the library for the lingering on of ReFoReMo in my life, and we have about eight months left in 2016. I can do it! (yes I can)  Gosh, I love books!

It may not seem like such a big accomplishment where most of my reading so far this year is picture books. I could never manage to read that many novels in twelve months. BUT … reading is reading. I’m learning about writing while I’m enjoying all those expertly told stories, too, as they serve as mentor texts.

Someday I’ll try to count how many books I have here in my growing TBR stashes♥  Novels, that is. Novels beckoning to me, novels tempting me, calling me.  *sigh*  I want to read them, get lost in them, devour them all!

pile of books

BOOKS.  

Another feature on Goodreads is that other members I’ve connected with as “friends” can recommend books they’ve read. Oh me. Some have.  🙂 

Oh, and while I’m on the topic — thank you to author Darlene Foster who follows my blog and recommended Pompeii by Robert Harris. I bought it through Audible.com and very much enjoyed it. Of course, I could have borrowed it from the library but I didn’t even think of doing that at the time. I really like Audible, anyway.  🙂  I can multi-task that way — listen to the book being performed for me (not just read), which is so great, and work around doing something else at the same time. But not writing. Not while “reading.”  😉

Have you set a goal this year for how many books you want to read? Or is there some other goal-setting you’ve established?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂 

Another pile of books for ReFoReMo

The challenge has ended, sort of. ReFoReMo may be over in one way, but I have a lot of work to do yet. On our own we were to read through each book and then analyze it – study how each was written, observe the POV and universal theme, choose our favourite line, write a little about the story’s main character, and more. It’s been educational for me to find out what is popular now, the many different types and themes of picture books, and the variety of ways to present stories. I’ve learned what type of book I’m not interested in writing and what style I’d like to try. A few I didn’t enjoy reading, a couple brought tears to my eyes, a few were educational and I learned fascinating things I didn’t know before; some stories were funny, a couple were hilarious (to me), and many were sweet stories in a variety of ways. This has been a great experience. (Thanks Carrie Charley Brown!)

I got more books from the library on Saturday and I’ve also started returning books. That’s the sad part.

Here are some of the latest ones I borrowed, I have a few others to photograph,  and there are more on hold for me.

batch 5 -11 Have you read any of the above?  They are:

  • Gravity by Jason Chin
  • One Day, The End by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
  • Birthday Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka
  • Lenny & Lucy by Philip C. Stead
  • How Hybrid Cars Work by Jennifer Swanson
  • Sparky! by Jenny Offill
  • A Dance Like Starlight by Kristy Dempsey
  • Wolfie the Bunny by Amy Dyckman
  • if you want to see a whale by Julia Fogliano
  • When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Locomotive by Brian Floca

I’ve read over eighty picture books through March because of Reading For Research Month, and I’m not done yet. That’s more books than I would normally read in a year! Some people have read many more than the 100 suggested, in only this month.

Now we’re learning from the special posts written for our further insight and inspiration. I’m so glad I did this, although now I’m behind in some other things I was doing – blogging and 12×12, to name only two. What I’ve gleaned through ReFoReMo should help in my writing though, so it’s all good.   🙂

On Sunday eleven of us shared Easter dinner at my dad’s, then I came home for my week off. I have a lot of reading, writing, revising to do and also publishing to finish! I am a writer and lovin’ it! 

When is the last time you read a picture book to a child or for your own enjoyment?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

           

A fourth pile of books for ReFoReMo!

For a week I haven’t posted the newest books I’ve received from the library for Reading for Research Month! The librarian has been faithfully bringing them in for me and the notifications have been popping up in my email. (I currently have 64 out on loan.) Even though today’s mail brought another notice, I am posting a photo of the nineteen books I haven’t shown you yet. The others can wait – I’ll show them to you later since I haven’t been able to get them today anyway.

batch 4 - 19They are:

  • Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow
  • This is Sadie by Sara O’Leary
  • Fox and Squirrel by Ruth Ohi
  • Cock-a-Doodle Oops! by Lori Degman
  • The Snatchabook by Helen Doherty
  • Max the Brave by Ed Vere
  • Home by Carson Ellis
  • Swan by Laurel Snyder
  • Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley
  • No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart
  • Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
  • Won Ton: a Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw
  • Waiting by Kevin Henkes
  • One Word From Sophia by Jim Averbeck
  • Be a Friend by Salina Yoon
  • I Dare You Not to Yawn by Helen Boudreau  [let me know if you keep from yawning when reading this one]
  • The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdös by Deborah Heiligman
  • No Nap! Yes Nap! by Margie Palatini
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt  [hilarious!]

Aren’t they beautiful? 🙂  Some I enjoy more than others and for different reasons.  I’m impressed by every one … and for different reasons.

Have you read any of the above books?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

What did you do with your extra day?

Hi, Everybody!  How are you doing as we start our journey through March?

Since this is Leap Year, Monday was February 29th – our extra day this year. How did you fill it?

That was my first whole day home during my week off from Dad’s, and … know what I did with my extra day? I read my Bible, vacuumed my house and did a little tidying up, watered my two dozen or so plants, and so on … and prepared a story that had to be ready for 12×12 check-in by midnight. I’m finding it to be quite the balancing act, and my balance isn’t what it used to be or should be, but I haven’t been knocked off track yet.

Early Tuesday evening we made a quick trip to the library where I picked up fourteen of the over 100 books I have to borrow for ReFoReMo. I won’t be able to get them all as not all are in our library’s system, but I will gather many of them over the month. Our librarian put them on hold for me so that when the books become available they’ll be brought in for me to borrow. I must say, I was excited to get my hands on those fourteen beautiful books! 

first 14

Top to bottom they are:

  • My Teacher is a Monster! (No I am Not) – by Peter Brown
  • The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend – by Dan Santat
  • Raindrops Roll – by April Pulley Sayre
  • Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree – by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal
  • Water is Water – by Miranda Paul and Jason Chin
  • Weeds Find a Way – by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and Carolyn Fisher
  • Flora and the Flamingo – by Molly Idle
  • Who Done It? – by Olivier Tallac
  • Cheetah Can’t Lose – by Bob Shea
  • Duck! Rabbit! – by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  • What To Do If an Elephant Stands on Your Foot – by Michelle Robinson
  • The Promise – by Nicola Davies
  • Infinity and Me – by Kate Hosford
  • Here Comes the Tooth Fairy Cat – by Deborah Underwood and Claudia Rueda

Of all the many, many books I’ve read over the years to my little girls, my nephew, my grandson, and occasionally other children – the only ones I’ve read that are on ReFoReMo’s list of (over 100) books assigned us for the challenge  are The Monstore by Tara Lazar and I Am Otter by Sam Garton. Gosh! It seems I’m waayy behind when it comes to reading picture books, at least the newer ones. And I love picture books!                                                                                   

Of that long list the only one I own is: I Am OtterGee … I’m on my way!  I have to get reading.  Gotta love that. 🙂

Have you read any of the above-mentioned books?

How did you use your extra day this year?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

‘Read More Books’ challenge: Week 10: 468-519 of the list of 623 of the best books ever!

Are you ready for week ten of our Read More Books challenge? 

 

Read HERE to learn about it. It’s never too late to join in.

 

Check the ones you may have missed or want to review:

 

WEEK ONE   WEEK TWO   WEEK THREE   WEEK FOUR  WEEK FIVE    WEEK SIX  WEEK SEVEN   WEEK EIGHT   WEEK NINE

 

How did you do with your reading? Even if you didn’t finish the book you selected, it counts if you select one for this week to add to your TBR pile.

468. A Room of One’s Own — by Virginia Woolf
469. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy — by John le Carré
470. Berlin Alexanderplatz — by Alfred Döblin
471. Cold Sassy Tree — by Olive Ann Burns
472. Look Homeward, Angel — by Thomas Wolfe
473. The Martian Chronicles — by Ray Bradbury
474. Skinny Legs and All — by Tom Robbins
475. Oliver Twist — by Charles Dickens
476.It — by Stephen King
477.A High Wind in Jamaica — by Richard Hughes
478. Cities of Salt  — by Abdelrahman Munif
479. You Shall Know Our Velocity — by Dave Eggers
480. Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein — by Marguerite Duras
481. The Death of Artemio Cruz — by Carlos Fuentes
482. The Power and the Glory — by Graham Greene
483. War and Remembrance — by Herman Wouk
484. Baudolino — by Umberto Eco
485. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant — by Anne Tyler
486. The age of wire and string — by Ben Marcus
487. The Sorrows of Young Werther — by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
488. Where the Wild Things Are — by Maurice Sendak
489. Night Watch — by Terry Pratchett
490. Tropismes — by Nathalie Sarraute
491. Tlooth — by Harry Mathews
492. The Godfather — by Mario Puzo
493. Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me — by Richard Fariña
494. Pricksongs & descants — by Robert Coover
495. Waiting for the Mahatma — by R. K. Narayan
496. The Journal of Jules Renard — by Jules Renard
497. Notes from a small island — by Bill Bryson
498. Centennial — by James A. Michener
499. the man in the high castle — by Philip K. Dick
500. The Last Chronicle of Barset — by Anthony Trollope
501. Night — by Elie Wiesel
502. The Pickwick Papers — by Charles Dickens
503. Écrits — by Jacques Lacan
504. Silent Spring — by Rachel Carson
505. Jayber Crow — by Wendell Berry
506. Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont — by Elizabeth Taylor
507. The road from Coorain — by Jill Ker Conway
508. The Theater and Its Double — by Antonin Artaud
509. The Three Musketeers — by Alexandre Dumas
510. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas — by Gertrude Stein
511. Little, Big — by John Crowley
512. Manhattan Transfer — by John Dos Passos
513. A Brief History of Time — by Stephen Hawking
514. Candide — by Voltaire
515. The Sheltering Sky — by Paul Bowles
516. Popol Vuh — by Anonymous
517. Time and Again — by Jack Finney
518. Moravagine — by Blaise Cendrars
519. The Left Hand of Darkness — by Ursula K. Le Guin
 
I love to hear from you!  From the above list:

 

  • Which books have you read?
  • Which books do you want to read?
  • Which books are you going to obtain this week?(Even if you are not officially taking the Read More Books challenge I would love to hear about your reading.)

 

Note: I got permission to share this list on my blog. (Thank you, Stuart!) You could go HERE for the list of “623 of the best books ever written” and see them all at once for yourself, and/or you can follow the list here a few at a time.

 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)