October 2014 Reading Wrap Up

October was a slow month, but in a "quality over quantity" kind of way. I read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time. I read it sloooowly. I wanted it to never end! When I finally finished, I couldn't seem to move on to anything else.Seriously, I basically picked up a book, set it aside. Tried another book, set it aside. Rinse and repeat. Slumped around for a while. Thankfully, Diane Cook helped me turn a corner with her collection of short stories, Man V Nature.Then I read The Republic of Imagination by Azar Nafisi, which was thought-provoking and interesting and all those great things, but really required my full, careful attention. (Proper review coming soon.)So, that was my October.…

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Girl Scouts Founder’s Day: Books for Mom & Daughter

October 31 is full of celebration! It's Halloween. It's Reformation Day (see the reading list I posted last year). And for the Girl Scouts of the USA, it's Founder's Day, the day we celebrate Juliette Gordon Low's birthday. My mom and I were both Girl Scouts, and now C is continuing the tradition. Today I thought I'd highlight two recently-purchased books that we've been enjoying. For Mom Juliette Gordon Low: The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts by Stacy A. Cordery (Penguin Books, 2012) Reading Here Come the Girl Scouts! to C actually prompted me to look for a Juliette Gordon Low biography for myself. I'm so glad I chose Stacy Cordery's book! I'm finding this to be thorough and very engaging, not…

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November 2014 Photo Challenge: Give #BookishThanks

Reading gives us so much to be thankful for. Join me in the Bookish Thanks photo challenge in November. Post as often or as little as you like, on your social media platform of choice, using the hashtag #BookishThanks. Have fun! (And please share this post with your friends!)

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Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

  Gracefully Grayson is a compelling, heartrending piece of middle grade fiction that kept me reading, pretty much straight through, into the wee hours of the night. I thoroughly enjoyed Polonsky's writing style and her realistic characters, and I was completely impressed the way she dealt with difficult topics in an age-appropriate manner. I don't normally do this, but I read some of the book's reviews on Goodreads prior to writing this. A number of readers commented that they felt as if the explanation for Grayson's feelings was too focused on wearing skirts and not much else. I disagree: There were plenty of other clues beyond wearing skirts and dresses, but these clues were more subtly expressed. Choosing to use…

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Man V. Nature by Diane Cook

  I've been sitting on this review until the very last moment because I haven't known where to begin. My head is spinning. Every time I think I know what I want to say about this collection of short stories, I come up with a ton of other ideas, too much to include in one review. Each story in Man vs. Nature centers around a personification of "nature," which manifests itself as an aspect of the natural world, an aspect of human nature, or often, a blend of the two. Our hopes and fears, our virtues and failings, our natural lives and deaths, the balance we strive for, the societies we've created: All of these things are confronted, pled with, fought, accepted.…

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Sunday Salon: Reading Slump, Yet Lots To Talk About

This weekend was Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon. I didn't get to participate fully this time around, but I gave it a try. I ended up reading a bit more of The Republic of Imagination, and listening to about half of the audiobook of Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. If I hadn't picked up an audiobook, I probably wouldn't have read anything at all.This was a sloooooooow reading week. As in, I didn't read at all except for the audiobook yesterday. We've had some (minor) Girl Scout drama which I've been agonizing over. This week I finally decided to pull C from the troop we'd joined and I got her switched over to her an…

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Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

1. Maine My parents are originally from Maine, and all of my extended family lives there. Even though I grew up as a Navy brat, I lived in this beautiful state off and on throughout my childhood. My spouse hates the cold, so I probably won't get a chance to move back. Books like Little Island by Katharine Britton and The Way Life Should Be by Christina Baker Kline give me my Maine fix, though they also make me want to look up travel prices! 2. Denver, Colorado Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber makes me want to go to Denver. Not to ski, but to go to church! 3. Monroeville, Alabama To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a recent read for…

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Sunday Salon

Time/Place // 12:30 p.m. I just got home from church. Catching a quick bite to eat, then I'm off to take C to her Girl Scout meeting.Eating/Drinking // I found a cute coffee shop downtown that I've never been to before, so I'm thinking I'll give it a try while C is at Daisies.Watching // The Walking Dead returns tonight! Also have this weekend's episode of Doctor Who in the queue.Listening // I've been into the Pandora Astor Piazzolla station lately.Reading // I finished reading Diane Cook's Man V. Nature, which was phenomenal, really. Friday night I started Azar Nafisi's The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books, and ending up needing to go out to buy more post-it flags.Anticipating // Next…

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Ten Books For Readers Who Like Character-Driven Novels

I didn't realize just how much I love to read character-driven novels until I sat down to make this week's list for Top Ten Tuesday. I had a terrible time limiting myself to only ten titles; I started out with twenty-five or so! Here are the ones that made the final cut. I feel attached to the characters in these books no matter how long ago I read their stories. Each image will take you to more info about the book, or in the cases of titles I've covered on the blog, to my review.

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Sunday Salon

MusicLast night I played alto flute with the symphony on Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe. That is one tough (and exposed!) alto flute part, wow. It wasn't so much about the notes for me (although there were sooooo many notes) as it was figuring out how to ration my air during the lyrical sections. But dress rehearsal went very well, and the concert last night went even better. I'm still on a post-concert high. Such a great feeling!BooksYesterday I finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird. I'm still digesting it, but right now my reaction is whoa, that was amazing.Today I'm starting Man V. Nature by Diane Cook, a collection of short stories "which illuminates with audacious wit the complexity of human…

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