Posts filed under ‘Birthday Challenge’

Austen in August Reading Challenge 2018

I found this book last year at a local thrift store and I’ve been waiting for August to sink into its lovely pages. Isn’t this a pretty book cover?

You either love her writing or hate it. You think it is well-written or insipid. Until 2015, I had no interest in reading any of Jane Austen’s books. Then I decided to accept the challenge to actually read her books. That August I read all six. .And I enjoyed each one.

This August I will participate in my 3rd Austen in August (AIA) reading challenge. I am joining with other folks from The Book Rat. This is The Book Rat’s 10th year to organize an AIA.

The Deets:

  1. Austen in August is a celebration of all things Jane Austen, featuring reviews, discussions, vlogs, giveaways, interviews and more!
  2. AIA will run for the entire month of August. You can read Austen’s works, adaptations, biographies, etc. Anything Jane Austen is allowed.
  3. There will be an Austen Read Along to coincide with the event: Longbourn by Jo Baker.

I read all the Jane Austen books in August 2015. I also read Emma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith and listened to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen.

I continued this challenge in 2017 where I reread Northanger Abbey. I read Austenland: Novel by Shannon Hale, The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler, and Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld.

The following books are available from the library as eBooks. I will choose several to read during August. I will definitely do the Group read.

Your Turn . . .  What Jane Austen book is your favourite to read? . . .  What do you suggest I reread? . . . I hope you join us this year’s Austen in August Reading Challenge.

Related Posts . . . Reading Challenge for My 60th Year (2018)

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Follow Seven Principles to Make a Dream Doable

I am reading this book, finally after decades of it being on my to-read list. … I followed seven ideas to make this a reality.

Do you have a dream that you are actively achieving? Or, is the dream still in hibernation mode?

I am a bucket list maker. I have dreams in quite a few areas, including theological, cooking, and reading. I have things I want to do during specific seasons as in Summer. On my birthday, I write what I want to accomplish that birth year. I have more ideas than one person could complete in a lifetime. However, I am finally in pursuit of one dream that seemed impossible. At least it seemed impossible according to my original guidelines.

I began to learn Spanish when I lived in Puerto Rico for most of my middle school years. One of my teachers thrilled us with episodes from Don Quixote de la Mancha, to the extent I decided I wanted to read the 1,000-page book in Spanish. Even though I’ve had years of Spanish since then, my grasp of the Spanish is not yet advanced enough to read this adult classic (in Spanish).

“Mom,” my daughter said, “just because you used to know a lot of Spanish doesn’t mean you’re a failure if you can’t read Don Quixote in Spanish now.”

This year, my 60th year, I decided to lay aside unrealistic expectations and make Don Quixote (DQ) the classic book I conquer. And to make this doable, I will read it in English. (In past years, I’ve read, in English, Anna Karenina, The Imitation of Christ, Moby Dick, and War and Peace, to name a few.)

For several months, I rummaged through thrift store shelves and garage sale piles for my very own copy of this classic, Don Quixote de la Mancha. I finally found a two-inch thick, paperback, in pristine shape for $1.99. I love a good deal, especially when buying things I don’t need.

And besides the bargain, I could check Step 1 off my list – Buy the book.

For Step 2, I cracked open the book to the Table of Contents to figure out a reading schedule. I became immediately daunted. Oh, no. This print is too small for me to read. ­

My daughter stepped in again, “Why don’t you go on Amazon and buy a large print edition?”

“Or,” I said, “I can get an e-copy, since I can control the print size on my Kindle.”

After an hour on Amazon, I still had not purchased an e-copy. There are at least 8 DQ versions for the Kindle. How do I pick the BEST version to read?  Too many choices are paralyzing.

I grabbed my ear buds and took a walk to clear my head. When I walk, I frequently listen to an audio book or podcast. After 30 minutes, I put away my headphones and house key. I wondered, Is there an Audible English version of DQ? I opened Audible on my phone to check. Yes, there was an English book. Without any more research, I clicked on this first entry and bought it.

I am now on chapter 72 of 126 chapters. I listen almost every day while I get in my daily steps. I am proud that I am finally tackling a long time dream because I modified it to fit my current lifestyle and skills.

Principles I learned from this process.

  1. Choose a dream.
  2. Make a list of steps from beginning to completion.
  3. Identify expectations and remove the unrealistic ones.
  4. Brainstorm (by yourself or with someone else) actions to achieve the steps.
  5. Do necessary research. But don’t give yourself too many choices.
  6. Choose a path that is doable for this stage of life. Realize that for most goals, there is no BEST path to achievement.
  7. Start the process TODAY.

Your Turn . . . What is a longtime dream you’ve had, but keep pushing out of sight? Is there some way you can adjust it to fit your current lifestyle and skills? 

Let us know in the comments. And we can cheer each other on as we make our impossible dreams possible.

Related Posts . . .

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Musicals I Saw During My 59th Year

This was one of my favorite musicals. It was athletically beautiful, and the story line was moving and encouraging.

These past several years, I’ve tried to do a yearlong project that equals my age. This helps me to remember how old I am. And it is a fun accomplishment. Some things I’ve done are as follows:

The year I turned 59 (2017), I challenged myself to watch 59 musicals. Facebook friends gave me 78 ideas. I had only seen 33/78. Not even a passing grade. Of course, there are more musicals than that, 100’s in fact.

So by combining the list from my friends and lists from the Internet, I came up with 59 choices. I created my Musicals Bucket List.

So did I actually watch 59 musicals last year? YES! In fact I ended up watching 67 of them! I watched the ones that were easy to find. They were at the library, on Amazon or Netflix, and on friends DVD’s. I even found one title at the thrift store (Funny Lady) for $1.00. This was a fun project! I feel so cultured now.

Keep reading to see what I watched.

  1. 1776
  2. 42nd Stree
  3. Across the Universe 
  4. An American in Paris
  5. Anchors Aweigh
  6. Aristocats (with grand daughter)
  7. Babes in Arms
  8. Babes in Toyland
  9. Barefoot in the Park
  10. Beauty and the Beast (new Disney Movie)
  11. Burlesque
  12. Cabaret
  13. Calamity Jane
  14. Camelot
  15. Carousel
  16. Chicago
  17.  Chorus Line
  18. Dreamgirls
  19. Duck Soup 
  20. Easter Parade
  21. Finian’s Rainbow
  22. Flower Drum Song
  23. Funny Lady
  24. A Funny Thing happened on the Way to the Forum
  25. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  26. Gigi
  27. Guys and Dolls
  28. Gypsy
  29. Hair
  30. Hairspray
  31. Happy Go Lovely
  32. Hello Dolly
  33. High School Musical 1
  34. High School Musical 2
  35. High School Musical 3
  36. High Society
  37. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
  38. Into the Woods
  39. Jersey Boys
  40. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (I saw this on stage with Cindy Jines.)
  41. Kiss Me Kate
  42. The Last Five Years
  43. Little Shop of Horrors
  44. Lili
  45. Man of La Mancha
  46. Mary Poppins (I saw this on TV with my grand-daughter)
  47. Moana (I saw this on TV with grand-daughter and then with my church group)
  48. Meet Me in St Louis
  49. The Mikado
  50. Newsies
  51. Night and Day
  52. On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
  53. The Pajama Game
  54. Peggy Sue Got Married – DVD present from Pam Finney
  55. The Producers
  56. Rent!
  57. Robin and the 7 Hoods
  58. Second Chorus
  59. Showboat
  60. A Star is Born
  61. State Fair 
  62. Sweeney Todd
  63. Swing Time
  64. Taming of the Shrew
  65. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  66. A Very Murray Christmas
  67. Viva Las Vegas

I’d still like to see the following:

Your Turn . . . How many have you seen on this list?  . . . What would you add? . . .  Do you do birthday challenges?

Related Posts . . . 

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Reading Challenge for My 60th Year (2018)

These are some books from my bookshelf.

How do you improve yourself? 

  • Take classes at the local college or online?
  • Hire a personal trainer or coach?
  • Participate in health or financial challenges with your mates?
  • Regularly follow your morning and evening routines?
  • Create and follow S.M.A.R.T. goals?

All if the above ideas are great ideas. But my favorite way to improve myself is by reading.

Below are 3 benefits of reading from my post, 13 Benefits of Reading,

  1. ,Exposes us to novel ideas, actions, geography and people so that we become more culturally, emotionally, politically, and historically aware.
  2. Clarifies difficult topics.
  3. Gives us the opportunity to learn from the mistakes and wisdom of others.

Every year (around my birthday), I decide what reading challenges I will do that year. My reading challenges this year are as follows ..

  • Read 2.018 minutes a month.
  • Read 60 books from the library, friends, etc.
  • Read the ABC’s from my own bookshelves. The list is here.
  • Read books for my monthly book club.
  • Read Don Quixote as part of my classics education.
  • Finish Mrs Dalloway.
  • Participate in the Austen in August Reading Challenge.
  • Leave Amazon reviews for books of people I know.

If I add anything else to this reading challenge for my 60th birthday year, I will update this post.

Your Turn . . . What is on your reading list for this year?  . . .  What would you add to my list?

Related Posts . . . 

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Did I Reach My Goal of Reading 59 Books?

Book cases are valuable pieces of furniture in my home. You? They contain treasured books that I’ll reread and books I’ll read for the first time. I like setting reading goals so that I make sure to regularly indulge in this favourite hobby.

My goal last year was to consume 59 books. I finished 63. I read from a wide variety of genres. My newest one is decluttering. I have made great decluttering progress and such books keep me motivated.

AUDIO BOOKS

  1. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
  2. A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
  3. How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter by Matt Kepnes
  4. I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
  5. Lila: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson
  6. The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain
  7. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington

CLASSICS

  1. War and Peaceby Leo Tolstoy
  2. What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey

DECLUTTER

  1. Coming Clean: A Memoir by Kimberly Rae Miller 
  2. The Hoarder in You: How to Live a Happier, Healthier, Uncluttered Life by Robin Zasio
  3. Housebroken: admissions of an untidy life by Laurie Notaro
  4. Unf*ck your habitat: you’re better than your mess by Rachel Hoffman
  5. Year of No Clutter: a memoir by Eve O. Schaub

HEALTH/HOBBIES

  1. Architectural Photography: Composition, Capture, and Digital Image Processing by Adrian Schulz
  2. Fully Alive: Discovering What Matters Most by Timothy Shriver (audio book from Library
  3. Getting To Know The World’s Greatest Artists: Picasso by Mike Venezia
  4. Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Anne Lamott
  5. Healthy Brain, Happy Life: A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain & Do Everything Better by Wendy Suzuki, PhD
  6. How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries by Kathy Lynn Emerson
  7. Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen: Learning to Cook with 65 Great Chefs and Over 100 Delicious Recipes by Dana Cowin
  8. Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren F. Winner
  9. TED Talks Storytelling: 23 Storytelling Techniques from the Best TED Talks by Akash Karia

JANE AUSTEN (her books and adaptations)

  1. Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale
  2. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  3. The Jane Austin Book Club: A Novel by Karen Joy Fowler

MEMOIR

  1. Glitter and Glue: A Memoir by Kelly Corrigan

MISCELLANEOUS

  1. The Dinner: A Novel by Herman Koch
  2. The Eden Prophecy: A Thriller by Graham Brown
  3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  4. Hearts And Bones by Margaret Lawrence
  5. The Sleepwalker: A Novel by Chris Bohjalian
  6. The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson
  7. Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! by Joanna Fluke
  8. The Young Messiah by Anne Rice
  9. False Impression by Jeffrey Archer

RECOMMEND

  1. small great things: A Novel by Jodi Picoult

SERIES

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (1/3)

Blackwell Cold Case

  1. Traces of Guilt (#1/2) by Dee Henderson
  2. Threads of suspicion (#2/2) by Dee Henderson

Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny

  1. Glass Houses: A Novel (13/14)

A Hannah Swensen Mystery

  1. Banana Cream Pie Murder (Book 21/21) by Joanne Fluke

In the Land of the Long White Cloud saga Book

  1. In the Land of the Long White Cloud (Book 1/3) By Sarah Lark

Mitford Series

  1. To Be Where You Are (Book #11) by Jan Karon

Ruth Galloway Mysteries by Elly Griffiths

  1. The Crossing Places (#1) by Elly Griffiths
  2. The Janus Stone (#2) by Elly Griffiths
  3. The House at Sea’s End (#3) by Elly Griffiths
  4. A Room Full of Bones (#4) by Elly Griffiths
  5. Ruth’s First Christmas Tree (#4.5) by Elly Griffiths
  6. A Dying Fall (#5) by Elly Griffiths
  7. The Outcast Dead (#6) by Elly Griffiths
  8. The Ghost Fields (#7) by Elly Griffiths
  9. The Woman in Blue (#8) by Elly Griffiths
  10. The Chalk Pit (#9) by Elly Griffiths

Women’s Murder Club Series by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

  1. 10th Anniversary  by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  2. 11th Hour by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  3. 12th of Never  by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  4. Unlucky 13  by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  5. 14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson and  Maxine Paetro
  6. 15th Affair  by James Patterson and  Maxine Paetro
  7. 16th Seduction by James Patterson and  Maxine Paetro

YEARLONG BOOKS

  1. A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson
  2. The Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

Your Turn  . . . Did you meet your reading goal for last year? What one book do you think everyone should read? I think everyone would benefit from reading small great things: A Novel by Jodi Picoult.

Related Resources . . .

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Musicals Bucket List – My 59th Year Challenge

In these last few years, I’ve often done a yearlong challenge that commemorates how old I am. And there is the added bonus that the challenge helps me remember how old I am.

  • One year I collected that number of Operation Christmas Child boxes.
  • Twice I read that number of books.
  • And this year, my 59th year, I am going to watch musicals. Between March 2017-March 2018, I will watch 59 musicals.

Yes, believe it or not, there are THAT many musicals. In fact there are 100’s of them. TRULY.

So just between these two sources there are about 100 musicals.

And stars such as Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, and Fred Astaire (to name a few) have starred in many musicals as well.

I found several links that pointed me in the right direction:

And I asked my friends on Facebook to recommend their favorite musicals. They gave me 78 ideas.

I picked this challenge because I thought I hadn’t seen very many musicals. Boy was I wrong. On most lists I’ve seen about 50% of the titles. Yet, there are huge gaps in my viewing history. And there are more than 59 musicals I could see.

I made up a list of potentials musical dates. I will see what I can see through Amazon streaming videos, Netflix, the library, thrift store, friends’ collections, and the stage. Since I might not be able to find each one, this list will most likely change.

Which ones on my to-watch list have you seen?

  1. 1776
  2. 42nd Stree
  3. Across the Universe
  4. An American in Paris
  5. Anchors Aweigh
  6. Babes in Arms
  7. Babes in Toyland
  8. Barefoot in the Park
  9. Burlesque
  10. Calamity Jane
  11. Camelot
  12. Carousel
  13. Chicago
  14.  Chorus Line
  15. Christmas Carol with Kelsey Grammer
  16. Dreamgirls
  17. Duck Soup
  18. Easter Parade
  19. Evita
  20. Finian’s Rainbow
  21. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  22. Gigi
  23. Guys and Dolls
  24. Gypsy
  25. Hair
  26. Hairspray
  27. Happy Go Lovely
  28. Hello Dolly
  29. High School Musical
  30. High Society
  31. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
  32. Into the Woods
  33. Jersey Boys
  34. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  35. The Last Five Years
  36. Little Shop of Horrors
  37. Lili
  38. Man of La Mancha
  39. Meet Me in St Louis
  40. The Mikado
  41. Moulin Rouge!
  42. Newsies
  43. Oliver!
  44. On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
  45. On The Town
  46. Otello
  47. The Pajama Game
  48. Princess and the Frog
  49. The Producers
  50. Rent!
  51. Robin and the 7 Hoods
  52. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  53. Second Chorus
  54. Showboat
  55. A Star is Born
  56. State Fair 
  57. Sweeney Todd
  58. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  59. Viva Las Vegas

Your Turn . . . 

  • Do you do anything special to commemorate your own birthday? If yes, what?
  • Do you do yearlong challenges? If yes, how has that gone and what do you do?
  • Are there any musicals I should add to my list?

Related Resources . . .

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60 Acts of Kindness, Intentional & Random to do my 60th year

The Finish DateMarch 1st, 2019
3 months to go.

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