I've decided that instead of having my list of books all the way down the side bar of my main blog, Miscellaneous Thoughts, it was time to organize them into a place all their own. Just because my books spill over everywhere in my house doesn't mean I need them to do the same thing online! So, this is where I will put my lists, the challenges in which I'm taking part, any reviews I may post, or just anything book related I run into. I also invite you to recommend any good books you've read because I am always on the lookout!

It Happened Here - The place settings for my 2015 reads.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

I've Read But Not Written

I am seriously the worst book blogger.  It's not that I haven't been reading (although even that has suffered a little the past month) it's just that I've been so busy with other things that I never feel like I have the appropriate amount of time to blog about what I'm reading.  
Then again, I always say the same thing about journal keeping so, time to just dive in.  For this post I'm going to try and narrow down my top three books for this year - so far.

Written by my sweet friend, Beatriz Williams, Tiny Little Thing is about another of the Schuyler sisters - Tiny.  Things aren't going so well in Tiny's seemingly perfect life.  Tiny has married into the powerful and illustrious Hardcastle family and her husband, Frank, is running for a senate seat but there are some secrets that seem to be lurking beneath the surface of this perfect family during their annual summer holiday on Cape Cod.  When Tiny's sister, Pepper, arrives for a visit, followed closely by Frank's war-hero cousin, Caspian, and an envelope with some incriminating photos follows close behind, all begins to unravel.

I don't know how I never read any of Karen White's books until about 18 months ago but, somehow, I missed them.  When my friend, Beatriz, said she would be collaborating on a book with her I decided to pick one up.  After I devoured her Tradd Street series (highly recommended), I moved on to some of her others.  In September I read Pieces of the Heart and I fell in love with this book!  I was torn between not being able to put it down and wanting to take my time and enjoy it more.  In this story Caroline Collier is under doctors orders to take a vacation from her high pressure job.  She returns for the first time in years to her overbearing mother's vacation home in the mountains of North Carolina.  This place used to be a refuge for Caroline when she was growing up but since the loss of her younger brother, who died at the age of 17, she has not been able to face the demons of the past.  There are still tensions between her and her mother but she finds courage to face her fears through her relationships with a lifelong friend and some new neighbors.  The writing is wonderful!

The Boys in the Boat is the story of the eight man rowing team from Washington state who won the gold medal in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.  We have always heard a lot about Jesse Owens but not much about this team of persevering young men who had to fight hard for their position on the team and fight even harder for their victory at the Olympics.  It tells of their history as young men, particularly from the point of view of Joe Rantz.  He was interviewed by the author shortly before his death in his 90s.  The rest of the book was constructed by using the journals of the other seven rowers, coaches, and others connected to the team.  It's told in such a masterful way that you forget you're reading a true story and not a novel.  I highly recommend this book.

So, there are my top three - so far - for this year.  Honorable mention goes to:

Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Booking Through Thursday ~ What do your friends think?

Today's Booking Through Thursday question is:

What do non-reader friends think about your reading habits? Do they understand? Are they sympathetic? Or are they always trying to get you to “get your nose out of that book?”

Most of my friends are readers as well so instead we can trade books or suggestions for books and authors.  

I've never had anyone tell me to get my nose out of a book but my husband has requested I turn off the light when it gets to be 1:00am and I'm in the "Just one more chapter" mode.  

The only thing I notice about non-reading friends is that it does eliminate a subject to talk about.  That can be frustrating when you've just read a great book and it's still on your mind!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Reading England

Why do we join reading challenges?  For me it's all about stretching myself to read something I may not otherwise have chosen.  I read books set in England all. the. time!  That makes the challenge, Reading England, perfect for me.  It is being hosted over at Behold the Stars and you can click on the image to learn about it.

A map of the counties in England has been provided - especially helpful for this American as, even though I've visited the UK many, many times, I can tell you places but not necessarily the county.

Also a list of classic books that take place in all of the different counties in England has been very generously provided!  Not every book I have read and have yet to read will be classics, although those will be included - especially as I start the Jane Austen challenge later this summer.  My goal to reach level three which is to read books set in 7-10 counties in England.  I am officially joining this challenge late and I thought I was doing well because the progress is retroactive to the start of 2015.  As it turns out, I've been all over the world from my reading chair this year but only four trips to

Here is my progress so far:

Devonshire – The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen (modern)
Buckinghamshire – A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie (classic)
Norfolk – A Place of Secrets by Rachel Hore (modern)
Kent - Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett (classic)

Next up on this challenge for me is most likely something by Daphne du Maurier because I love Cornwall and I love her writing.

Join in if you'd like and wish me luck!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Children's Classics

Today I am focusing on a children's classic.  I love children's books!  Sometimes I will buy a book I may already have copies of simply because it's been released with beautiful new illustrations.  This summer, along with the rest of my TBR pile, I am including some children's books I never got around to reading when I was growing up.  I think what I didn't read I had skipped because I only read the "girly" books growing up.  I didn't have any sons so those same girly books were what I read to my daughter.

This week's book is Little Lord Fauntleroy by Francis Hodgson Burnett.  Of course, I had read The Secret Garden and A Little Princess several times between my childhood and my daughters, but I never read this.  I'm about 50 pages into it and enjoying it quite a lot.

I have two grandsons now and I want them to love books as much as I do so I am mending my ways.  I recently read An Indian in the Cupboard.  What a delightful story.  Next up, The Castle in the Attic. Now, if you'll pardon me, I need to get back to Ceddie!

Do you still read children's books?


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Booking Through Thursday - Vacation

Time for another installment of . . .

This week's question is:

When you travel, do you bring one book with you? Or a pile of them?
It depends on how long I'm going to be gone and how much travel time is required to reach my destination.  If I have a long flight or drive each way I will definitely have more than one book.  Also, if my vacation is somewhere I've gone to relax (anyplace with a beach) I will have several books with me.  If I know there will be a great deal of sightseeing involved then I know my reading time will be limited.
And, is that pile still a load of paper to lug around? Or do you use an e-book reader like a Kindle or your iPad to help carry the load? (Because, even if you prefer paper, it can get heavy when you’re traveling!)
I used to travel with a pile of paper books and, yes, they are heavy.  Now, I tend to read from my iPad when I travel.  I am still a paper book lover but have realized that traveling is exactly the place for an e-book reader in my life.  The biggest drawback is that, if I read something I really love on my iPad, I can't loan it to friends or family afterward.  This happened to me last summer when I read Karen White's Tradd Street series of mysteries.  I definitely would have shared those with my fellow mystery reading friends!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Booking Through Thursday - Magazines

Yes, I know it's only Tuesday but if I'm going to start keeping up with this blog regularly I need to jump in.  So this is last week's question:

What magazines do you subscribe to? Personal ones? Professional ones?
I subscribe to three magazines.  
1. The Ensign is published by our church and contains articles of faith and inspiration.  A great place to put my mind on a hectic day.

 2.  The Cottage Journal.  It's mostly just pretty.  There are lovely photographs and articles about gardening and decorating with some recipes thrown in for good measure.  
3.  Victoria.  Their monicker "Return to Bliss" is appropriate.  Again, sumptuous photography and articles about design, gardening, products for pampering, beautiful places to travel, and recipes.
Or do you only/mostly pick up your periodicals at the newsstand?
Every once in awhile I'll pick up something at a newsstand but rarely.  Again, I tend toward design magazines.  I don't like celebrity magazines like People so if I'm looking for something outside of my current book I'll pick something like that up.
How do you feel about digital editions versus print?
I don't like digital - in books or magazines.  I like the feel and the smell of the paper in my hands.
Do you save the old copies after you read them? Or promptly recycle them?
I have some copies I've saved over the years but mostly I'll tear out the articles I like and would like to refer to again and file those.  I recycle the rest.
So, those are my answers.  What do you do with your magazines?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Don't Stop Reading

I took quite a long break from blogging on both of my blogs but the one thing I did not stop doing during that time was read.

I love reading challenges.  They help me step out of my favorite genres (historical fiction and cozy mysteries) and read something different.  This year I'm enjoying PopSugar's Ultimate Reading Challenge.  The suggestions are very creative!  This is kind of small to see but click either on the picture or HERE to get the full view.

Of course, some books fall into more than one category, which helps.  So far I've completed:

A book that became a movie (Dr. Dolittle)
A book with non-human characters (Dr. Dolittle again)
A book by a female author (25 of them)
A mystery or thriller (9 with a 10th almost completed)
A book set in a different country (5 of them)
A nonfiction book (6 of them)
A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet (8 of them)
A book a friend recommended (3 of them)
A book based on a true story (The Boys in the Boat)
A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't (Dr. Dolittle - yet again!)
A memoir (3 of them)
A book you can finish in a day (3 of them)
A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit (Lake Como)
A book that made you cry (Somewhere Between Luck and Trust)
A book by an author you've never read before (6 of them)
A book that takes place in your hometown (The Last of the Prune Pickers)

There are 50 subjects listed but I will only do 49 as I have no desire to read a graphic book.  Although I've read 29 books this year (you can see them all listed on my sidebar), I've only completed 16 of the 49 subjects.  I guess I still need to diversify a little bit more.  I just have so much trouble resisting those cozy mysteries!

Are you taking part in any challenges this year?  If so, which ones?

Keep reading!