Random “book” questions answered

pexels-photo-247644.jpegI’ve recently discovered “Book Tube” – a community of folks who love reading and are on YouTube making videos about their books.  I saw a thing they called “The Book Tag” and thought I’d randomly answer some of the same questions that were going around BookTube last summer.  So, here goes!

  1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?  Not really.  I enjoy reading in bed at night and in the summer, I love to sit out on our back deck with a book.  I also love reading when we are on RV trips, and will even curl up on our couch and read during the daytime.
  2. Bookmark? Or a random piece of paper?  Definitely bookmark.  I collect bookmarks whenever we go to a National Park. I like to stamp the back with the rubber stamp date thing that they have in all the visitor centers – to remember the day we were there.  I also have bookmarks from fun trips and still use the ones I picked up on our wonderful trip to Australia, years ago. My most recent National Park bookmark is from Volcanoes on the big island of Hawaii.
  3. Can you just stop reading or do you need to read a certain number of pages or quit at the end of a chapter?  I like to stop reading at the end of a chapter, but I rarely give myself a certain number of pages to read….although, thinking of it, sometimes when I’ve borrowed a library book and therefore have a deadline to return it, I do sometimes divide up the pages with the number of days I have left.  Usually, I just stop whenever I want to or need to.
  4. Do you eat or drink while reading?  I don’t usually eat while reading, but will often pair a hot mug of tea in the winter or an icy glass of tea in the summer with my book.
  5. Music or TV while reading?  Preferably, no. I love to read in silence. BUT… I do live with a certain someone who has been known to watch soccer for hours on end, and I can tune it out pretty well these days if I’m into a good book.
  6. One book at a time, or several at once?  Often, I’ll have two, sometimes three books going at the same time. One physical book, one e-book, and once in a while, an audio book also.
  7. Do you prefer E-readers or physical books?  I like them both, but honestly, I prefer a physical book. I also love audio books, but only if the narrator/reader is good at what they do. I’ve listened to horrible narrators, and wonderful narrators, and the difference is monstrous. One reason I prefer a “real” book is because it’s nearly impossible to share an ebook with another person. When I find a gem of a book, I love to pass it around.
  8. Do you read ahead or skip pages?  No. That would spoil things!  I have been known to skip over a paragraph or two for various reasons, but not pages.
  9. Do you break the spine of a book, or try to keep it like new?  Just depends on the book. If I feel like I have to keep “prying” it open to read it, I’ll break the spine.  Of course this is not an issue with hardbacks.
  10. Once you start a book, do you force yourself to finish it?  Oh my goodness, NO!  If I can’t get into a book after about 50-60 pages, I will call it quits. Too many good books, too little time!

So there you have it, my answers to “the Book Tag”. I am just about done with my first book of 2018 – one I’d never even heard of before watching some of the BookTube/YouTube videos.  Be watching for my review to appear soon under the tab “Books 2018”.  Time for me to go finish book #1 for the year!  🙂

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Reading goals for 2018

books1

This year, 2017, I set myself a reading goal of finishing 25 books.  I think I’ve completed about 35 books so far, and I’m pleased about that.  Today I watched a vlog from a woman who completed the PopSugar Reading challenge for 2017. I’d never heard of that and was intrigued. So I looked over the categories for both 2017 and 2018, and picked 12 (and added a couple of my own categories) that I thought might not be TOO difficult to complete, yet stretch my normal reading boundaries a bit. Some things I refuse to compromise, however. I simply won’t read a book that is riddled with foul language, or anything in the horror genre. Just isn’t my thing – at all.  I’m also not “into” sci-fi but did read The Hunger Games years ago and liked it, so who knows?  So anyway, here is my list for next year:

    • A True Crime book
    • A book set in a place that I normally do not read about
    • A bestseller from the year I was born
    • A book by an author with different ethnicity than me
    • A childhood classic I’ve never read
    • A bestseller from the year I graduated high school
    • A book that’s been on my TBR pile way too long
    • A book about food (cookbooks don’t count!)
    • A book with a month or day of the week in the title
    • A book from a genre that I don’t normally read
    • A book with more than 500 pages
    • A book by a first time author
    • A Classic novel I’ve never read
    • Re-read one book I once loved, do I still love it?

This shouldn’t be too hard…. I mean, I’m retired and I love to read…. so lets see how it goes!!!  I’ll be reporting back here often. Happy reading everyone!

Just a book reminder

Hello everyone!  Just wanted to remind you all that I’ve been doing a lot of reading this year and I’ve reviewed quite a few of the books that I have finished right here on the blog!  Just click the header up near the top of the page that says “Books 2016”.  I finished another one today, so I’ll post my latest review here as well as above just for the fun of it.  According to Goodreads, I’ve read 29 books so far this year!!  Woo-Hoo! I’m pretty happy about that, and needless to say, there’ll be more to come.  I have not reviewed every single book above on my Books 2016 tab, but a majority are on there.  I hope you’ll find one or two that may pique your interest 🙂

painted-house

September 9    A Painted House  by John Grisham            I went into “retro” mode with this book as I listened to it on audio cassette  over the period of a few weeks. I enjoyed it a lot and think it’s probably worth 4 stars – but I think I’d actually give it 4.5 stars, with the extra half-star simply for the awesome narrator in this audio book! I like John Grisham but have not read any of his work for a very long time. This one was published a long time ago (2001) and didn’t contain one word about lawyers – which may have been one reason why I was attracted to it. The story takes place in about 1952 in rural Arkansas, on a cotton farm. Life on a farm back then was pretty rough, and this novel does not sugarcoat it. I truly enjoyed listening to this book and the narrator did a fine, fine job depicting the southern accents, as well as different verbalization for each character. A lot happens in this rural community during the course of one cotton picking season… lots of things that little Luke (our 7 year old main character) hears and witnesses. It’s a good story, but I think I enjoyed it even more because it was an audio edition.

New Year, New Focus

 NYE SeattleHappy New Year 2016!!!  Wait.  What? 2016????  How can that be?  Seems like it was not long ago that we were welcoming in the new century, awaiting the Y2K bug, and partying like it was 1999….   yet here we are, a full 16 years later…. and happy to still be here, I might add!

Some years I enjoy documenting my New Years resolutions and this year I’m going to do just that.  To keep myself on track, I intend on doing fairly regular updates on how well I’m succeeding.  So, lets get started.

Numero UNO on my list is:  Decluttering my home.  I have spoken about this in the past, and have been marginally successful.  Maybe I should change that to minimally successful.  In the past month or so, I’ve donated two large garbage bags of clothes and the entire back end of our SUV was full of other stuff that I no longer wanted or needed. I have completely cleared out my kitchen of items I don’t use, yet there is still TOO MUCH STUFF! But friends, that is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg!  I still have closets and drawers full of (many different sized) clothes that I need to part with.  Our 3rd bedroom – AKA “the Office” – is a disaster area. From top to bottom it’s full of crap I don’t need.  Just this past weekend we gave away a large piece – a 5 foot tall “kitty condo”, lovingly made by hubby for our cat Jinx – who no longer uses it.  It’s moved about 50 miles away to our son and future daughter-in-law’s place where they have two new rescue kittens who apparently are in love with it already! 🙂  Yay!   Personally, I have found that when I clear out stuff, it makes me feel good.  I haven’t read the huge best seller book (yet) that’s out there about the “magic of tidying up”, but yes, it’s on reserve at the library. Since it’s so popular, I’ve been waiting for it for some time, but that’s okay. I understand she (the author) says that if something doesn’t give you “joy”, then it should go.  What gives me joy is seeing my cupboards, cabinets, and drawers cleared out to the point of being able to see what I have and access what I have and use what I have!  I will do some before and after photos of my horrendously messy office.

Numero Dos is to Eat healthier foods.  It’s easy to say that, but I’ve actually made a plan.  First off, let me divulge that I suffer from diverticulitis.  I’ve found that for me, the best way to keep “it” at bay is to add pro-biotics into my diet.  Of course there are numerous ways to do this…. Some people take probiotic pills, and while that may work well for some, it doesn’t for me.  So I’m in the process of learning about lacto-fermentation and will be making my first fermented veggies (I’m starting with carrots) soon.  I’ve been drinking kefir for months, and am just now starting to culture my own kefir using milk kefir grains and water kefir grains.  Kefir and fermented veggies provide a myriad of helpful bacteria for our bodies, our immune system, and intestinal health. When you consider that one bottle of store-bought kefir is anywhere from $3-5,  I’ll save a lot of money by making my own.  I also eat Greek yogurt which also provides a few probiotics, but not nearly as many strains as the kefir or fermented veggies. I downloaded a very informative book for my Kindle for only $2.99 called Fermented VegetablesI’ll keep you posted on how my fermenting and culturing goes!  I got my kefir grains from Amazon.com, from a company called Cultures for Health.   Not only do I plan on eating probiotics, but I’m really going to try and focus on preparing our meals from whole foods, and sometimes even organic when it’s feasible (and not insanely expensive).  I guess my main goal here is to cut out extra chemicals and additives from our diet.  I will update on that quest, as well.

Numero Tres is to compute less and read more!  I find it so easy to spend an entire afternoon on the computer, and I have a feeling that I’m in pretty good company here.  Let’s face it, fooling around on the computer is probably not the best way for one to spend their free time. I truly DO love reading.  Last year I set a goal to read 25 books.  I thought that was a reasonable, attainable ambition.  I failed.  I read 22 books, (I think).  Okay, that’s not so bad, but I’m resetting the goal for 25 books again for 2016. By the way, I do NOT count books like the Fermented Vegetables book in this list of “read books”.  I’m thinking I might put a new tab on the top of the home page here where I have an easy spot to document my reading progress and yes, I’ll call it “Books 2016”.

I think the above are pretty good goals for the upcoming year.  Oh yes, there are others, but not everything is brought to life on the blog 😉      I’d love to hear what any of your goals, plans, hopes, and dreams are for 2016 – and Happiest of New Years to ALL!!!

Chestnut Street

chestnutst

I recently finished this book of short stories by my beloved Maeve Binchy.  Oh how I will miss her!! Our dear Ms Binchy left us back in July of 2012 and from what I gather, her husband came across a drawer full of stories, all about people who lived on the same street, Chestnut Street.  I believe this was still a work in progress when she passed, but since she is no longer here to complete the project, her husband published them “as is”.  While everyone in the book had ties to, or lived on Chestnut Street, the characters were VERY minimally interrelated.  It was more just a book of short stories, written in her absolutely delightful style.  I had no problem going from one chapter to the next… it was easy to immediately get caught up in whatever story was in front of me.  Some were good enough that she could have based whole books around them, in my humble opinion.  I was sad to see it end and sad to see my long running era of Maeve Binchy books come to a close.  When people ask me, “Do you ever re-read books?” I normally reply, “too many great books, not enough time”  — but in this case, I truly believe I’ll be re-visiting several of hers.

Winter of the World

winter of the world

It took me about a month and a week, but I’ve done it, I finished the 943 page behemoth seen above!  I got this book for Christmas 2012 and FINALLY got around to reading it.  Now I’m a bit sorry that I waited as long as I did to read it.  Why?  Because so many of the people/characters from his previous book, Fall of Giants appeared in this book as well.  If not the exact same characters, then the direct family members of the characters…. and I’d forgotten a lot of them.  Follett has a way of bringing it all back, reminding you ever so gently of who did what to whom.  Winter of the World  starts in 1936 and works and winds it’s way through the war years of 1939-1945, then finishes up in the late 1940’s.  I will admit that the first 250 pages or so were a struggle for me, but I KNEW it would be worth it to take the time to get reacquainted with the characters and families.  I was right, it was SO worth it.  If you’ve read my book reviews through the years, you’d know I am crazy for books set just before, during, and just after WWII.  It’s my favorite era, and the funny thing is that it’s been my favorite era now for years.  Since this book is quite detailed about armies and war plans and the like, you had better appreciate the WWII era, or at least be a history fan to completely enjoy this one.  Personally, I loved it.  Feel free to read my not quite as stellar review of the first book in the trilogy here. One of the complaints I had regarding the first book were the unlikely meetings of main characters.  While I expected that would happen again in Winter of the World, it didn’t.  In my opinion, all the chance encounters of the main characters were much more believable this time around. As mentioned in that review, the final book of the trilogy will be apparently about Vietnam and other events that happened towards the end of the century.  I’m still thinking I’ll skip that one, but I’m reserving the right to change my mind! My biggest beef about this novel is that it was heavy and bulky to tote around, and nearly impossible to read in bed (which I love to do).  It may be time to accept the inevitable, and just get books as big as this one loaded onto my easily maneuverable Kindle!

Be on the lookout for another review soon – I’m nearing the end of a Kindle book I can’t wait to tell you about!

Latest Book Reviews

This is just a brief note to say that I had a change of heart, and decided to review my books under the “Books 2012” tab at the top of the page.  I had planned to again place my reviews within the body of my blog, but with the upcoming arrival of our twins, I decided I would separate the personal stuff from the book stuff.  I have finally reviewed my first three books today. Just click on “Books 2012” to see what I’ve been reading.