The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman, Emily Rankin (Narrator)

Carla Loves To Read

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman, Emily Rankin (Narrator)

Published July 9th 2019 by Penguin Audio, Berkley

5 Stars: 

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new sts.pngSeveral blogging friends have included this meme on their blogs, notably Carla of Carla Loves To Read. Since I have not requested Netgalley or other publishers’ books, I have never participated. This week I ordered a book from Amazon I want to include as an addition to my TBR shelves.thumbnail_IMG_0801.jpg  I have as a lifetime goal to read all of Susan Vreeland’s novels based on famous works of art, and this one arrived yesterday. Judging from the back cover, this is Vreeland’s second novel. She wrote seven in all, and the only other one I’ve read was Luncheon of the Boating Party (based on a famous painting by Renoir) which I read for our Third Tuesday Book Club. One of our members had known Susan Vreeland many years ago in California, and he recommended her as an excellent novelist. Each of us chose one of her books, each about a famous painting, to read, and a delightful discussion took place.

From the cover, I surmise that the book is based on the unique life of a female painter, Artesmisia Gentileschi, an ariist in seventeenth century Italy. Her magnificent painting, L’Inclinazione  (c. 1615-1617) is shown on the inside cover page.



thumbnail_IMG_0803.jpg  I can hardly wait to meet the genius (and a woman at that!) who painted this.

Update on a 2020 Challenge

One of my personal reading challenges for 2020 was to read 20 books recommended or reviewed by a fellow blogger. In January, Deb Nance’s post on books that uplift one’s mood on her blog, Readerbuzz recommended The Church of Small Things by Melanie Shankle (reviewed on PWR previously). Deb is a long-time, good friend who lives in the same town, and whose taste in books aligns with my own.

Another blogger I follow faithfully is Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda, who writes Without Ritual, Autonomous Negotiations, a scholarly blog on WordPress.  Dr. Pegoda was at one time my student at UHCL and is the closest thing I have to a grandson. He recently had articles published in The Washington Post and Time Magazine. (If I sound like a grandma bragging, I am.) At his recommendation, I extended my desire to read more non-fiction by reading Trauma Stewardship by Laura Van Dermot Lipsky and Connie Burk. The book’s subtitle is “An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self while Caring for Others.” Published in 2009, but very relevant today, this book deals with “secondary trauma,” a term I was not familiar with. The authors point out the importance of “work[ing] on those who help [with] and witness trauma.” The book made a good case for treating emergency workers and caregivers, as well as those who were also present at tragedies and traumatic events. The book’s message could be summed up as, “In order to take care of someone else, one must simultaneously take care of himself.” Or, as the example from a stewardess’s speech before taking off includes, “Put on your own face mask first.”


Welcome to Powerful Women Readers. This book group/society of women is the resurrected book group of the Alvin branch of the American Association of University Women from back in the 80s. We have been active as an on-line book club group since September of 2015 and have had a few get-togethers open to all PWR members and their friends who share a love of reading, books, and literacy concerns.

We believe in life-long learning, and reading and sharing books is part of that goal. We suggest good books to read and get together irregularly and spasmodically to share book recommendations, pass along books we’ve read, and encourage others in our efforts to promote literacy locally and nationally. Some of us have been “planting” Little Free Libraries in our yards and around the Alvin area.

The PWR post is available as well at  Many of our bookish friends follow us on-line and sometimes make comments on books we present to them.

If you would like,  start a conversation with other bibliophiles by typing what you are currently reading in the reply box below.  PWR would like to hear from YOU!


Although my main emphasis for 2020 is to complete Dollycas’s 2020 Alphabet Soup Challenge, author edition, ALPHABET-SOUP-2020-AUTHOR-EDITION-BE-820to read 20 books in 2020 recommended by fellow bloggers, and to clear my TBR shelves to a manageable number of books (which I have already done), I still continue 2019’s goals of reading more non-fiction as well as Books about Books.


The Book I completed tonight is Charles Lovett’s The Bookman’s Tale, which is described by the cover as Novel of Obsession. An old-fashioned romance, book-themed mystery, and dramatic who-done-it, aka Agatha-Christie-style, ending, this novel was a fun read. At a little over 300 pages, it alternated chapters between Peter, the protagonist, as a young man; Peter as a bereaved widow; and bookbinders, booksellers, and book forgers who were contemporaries of Shakespeare. Throw in the protagonist with a new love interest trapped in an underground tunnel (that connects two enemies’ manor houses) and arriving the end to be met with a self-confessed murderer aiming a pistol at them, and the reader is on his way to a bang up ending. (Sorry, I couldn’t restrain myself!)

Lovett wrote this book in 2013, but it appeals to readers of all sexes and all ages who enjoy books, bookstores, booksellers, and revelations from those who are obsessed with the authorship and collecting of books. It is an excellent read.


Literacy and Me

For kids ages 6-11, frequent readers are more likely than infrequent readers to…

…have been read aloud to 5-7 days a week before entering kindergarten.

…currently have been read aloud to at home.

…ask for books that “have characters that look like me” and “let me use my imagination.”

… are not allowed to go on line using a computer for fun as often as infrequent readers are.


For kids ages 12-17, frequent readers are more likely than infrequent readers to…

…read independently during the school day.

…read more books after being introduced to ebooks.

…know their reading level.

…have parents who help them find books and encourage reading for fun.


Frequent readers are readers who say they…

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These books were also Cybils finalists I read in 2019

shopping.jpeg First in a swashbuckling series, Britfield and the Lost Crown by C.R. Stewart, could be the next Harry Potter series for the fifth grade to eighth set. It is fast-paced and crammed with adventure and action. And, like Harry Potter, it is filled with respectable values and life lessons. Thanks to the publishers who sent me a copy when my local libraries did not have it yet. This series has real potential.

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James will appeal to readers of both sexes and to upper elementary as well as middle school students. Ashley Herring Blake captures the emotions and fears of a girl who faces a heart transplant in the middle of her search for her sexual identity.Unknown.jpeg Characterizations like Sunny’s mother, a secondary character, but a very important one, flesh out this touching novel and the relationship of mother and daughter would make this an ideal mother-daughter read-together.


Shark research is something I knew NOTHING about before reading The Line Tender51Gj7IYIRHL._SY346_.jpg, but what I learned about oceanography and marine life made this a fascinating read. Carrying on her deceased mother’s lifetime work, the main character comes to grips with her mother’s horrendous death (The accident also killed the daughter’s best friend/potential boyfriend, Fred.) and her own destiny. It is action-packed and exciting as well as a tender look at dealing with grief and fear. It is, perhaps, for junior high readers and above because of its emotional theme and realistic tone.

Any of these three would make a page-turning read for your middle schooler.