Posts filed under ‘Books’

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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Reading The ABC’s of My Bookshelves 2018

“Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.” ~ Gustave Flaubert

I have more books than anything else in my home. They are the hardest things for me to declutter. Since I really want and need to streamline my home, boxes (and boxes and boxes) of books need to relocate. But first, I want to read or re-read them.

 

  • Have you read all the books on your bookshelves?
  • Do you have any you want to reread?

My answers are “No” and “Yes.”

How do you pick which books to read?

I have so many that sometimes it is hard to choose which ONE book to read first. That is why I am creating The ABC’s of My Home Bookshelf list. At least I’ll narrow the list to 26 books. Below is my (tentative) list. As I read a book for that letter, I will bold the entry.

The ABC’s of My Home Bookshelves

  1. Actual Factuals for Kids: with Verses From the Bible by Nancy S. Hill
  2. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
  3. Corelli’s Mandolin
  4. Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Héctor Tobar
  5. Extraordinary Results from Ordinary Teachers by Michael Warden
  6. Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest by Bonnie Gray
  7. Goliath Must Fall: Winning the Battle Against Your Giants by Louie Giglio
  8. Hollow City (2nd novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children) by Ransom Riggs 
  9. The Invisible Bond: How to Break Free from Your Sexual Past by Barbara Wilson
  10. J
  11. Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis .
  12. Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life  by Priscilla Warner
  13.  The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
  14. No Easy Jesus by Jason Mitchell
  15. Option B: Facing Adversity, Duilding Resilience, And Finding Joy
    by Sheryl Sandberg
  16. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  17. Q
  18. The Right Attitude to Rain (An Isabel Dalhousie Mystery) by Alexander McCall Smith …
  19. Switch On Your Brain by Dr Caroline Leaf
  20. Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson
  21. U
  22. V
  23. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
  24. X
  25. Yes! By Noah Goldstein
  26. Z

Your Turn . . . Have you read all the books on your bookshelves? . . . How do you pick what to read?

Related Posts – I’ve tried different things to narrow my reading choices.

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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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Austen in August Reading Challenge 2017

 

You have a few days to sign up, so do NOW.

 

Which Jane Austen books have you read? I did this Austen in August challenge two years ago and read all the main Austen books. I want to participate again this year. I plan to reread at least one book and read several related books mentioned by Roof Beam Reader.

Click on the link to read the details – Austen In August: Year 5! (Call for Participants)There will be “giveaways, guest posts, and other shenanigans, all of which are meant to inspire a great, interactive event.” Doesn’t this sound like a tempting challenge? Sign up today. To share/discuss this challenge on Twitter and/or Facebook, use  #AustenInAugustRBR.

In a perfect world, my goal is to read the following. EDITED TO ADD: I read the first three.

  1. I will reread Northanger Abbey along with others from RoofBeamReader.
  2. Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale – READ IT.
  3. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler. READ IT.
  4. Jane Austen, the Secret Radical by Helena Kelly
  5. Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World by Claire Harman
 Your Turn . . . What Austen book is a must re-read? . . . Will you join us in this endeavor?
Related Posts . . .

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Simplicity Day Reminds Us of the “Simple” Life

Today is #National  Simplicity Day. When was the last time you looked to simplify your life in terms of goals, balance, meaning, and social media?

Answer the questions below to get you started on this reflection.

  • How balanced is your life between the various areas like sleep, work, and recreation?
  • Are you spending quality time with the important people in your life and on projects that advance you towards your goals/dreams?
  • Is your spiritual life a relationship that you cultivate?

GOALS

One of my goals for this summer is to finish unfinished projects. And one of these projects is decluttering. Yesterday, with the help of my daughter, I went through ALL of my clothes. I tried on everything and only kept what I really liked or loved. The rest is in the give-away pile.

I have given myself a month to mend (mainly shorten) the clothes that need it. Otherwise they, too, will be given away. And after a month, I will check to see what I’ve actually worn. My tentative goal is to do something like Project 333.

I still need to do more work in my closet. I am surprised at how many non-clothes items are in there. I am also surprised at how many scarves I have. Tons, I tell you, tons!

“My riches consist not in the extent of my possessions but in the fewness of my wants.” ~ J. Botherton

BALANCE

I tend to work too much. As a result I neglect the important people in my life. That is one reason I wrote a Summer Bucket List. I want to make sure I have friend-balance in my life. So far this summer I have done well with having “dates.” Read #4 for an update.

These non-romantic times have been fun. I’ve eaten, chatted, walked, viewed vacation photos, and crafted. It may seem weird to some to have to schedule in dates, but I am finding that works for me.

MEANING

One thing that gives meaning to my life is a relationship with God. I want to and need to spend daily time reading and meditating on Scripture. I need to and want to spend time talking and listening to God. And finally I need to and want to spend time at church and with the people of the church. This type of focus keeps me maturing and balanced.

Also to add meaning to my life, I am thinking about what’s important to me. I am listening to an audiobook, Thrive. Arianna Huffington wants us to consider four areas to get back to living a life that counts: wonder, giving, wisdom, and wellness. I want to focus on these as well.

Joelle from 21 Delights wrote a list (of 21 things) that brings meaning to her life. Her top 10 are as follows … her husband … her children … her relationship with the Divine … Her extended family … witnessing goodness … life stories … friendship … solitude … Music … and art. Go here to read the complete list and post about why she wrote it.

I haven’t written such a list yet. What would your list include? What do you want to do more of? Less of? Read how a STOP DOING list is helpful.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media use can, at times, consume way too much of my time. I go on for just a quick minute. And then an hour later I am still on there. I want to and need to declutter that area of my life, too.

 It’s good practice to look at your social media use the way you would closets full of stuff. Ask yourself: Am I using social media intentionally or out of habit? What benefits does it bring me, what are the trade-offs, and do I need to change anything? If I cut back on social media, how else do I want to use that time? ~ Ellen from Simplifying at Home: Living Better with Less

In conclusion, in honor of National Simplicity Day I am reading a real book and not something from social media. I am reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau. He was an advocate for living a life of simplicity. If you’ve read this book, what are your take-aways?

Your Turn . . .  How “simple” is you life? . . .  Where would you like to make a change in the areas of GOALS, BALANCE, MEANING and/or SOCIAL MEDIA?

Related Posts . . . Check out the article that was the brainchild of this post: NATIONAL SIMPLICITY DAY from the National Day Calendar website.

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

The Finish DateMarch 1st, 2019
72 days to go.

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