The A-Z Challenge, one I resumed in January, starting with the letter “N,” continues. In January, I read Nightbird, a YA novel with Hoffman’s touch of the supernatural, and The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jamisin, described by Brainfluff’s blogger as a “mashup of both fantasy and sci-fi. Jamisin’s novel is the second in the “Broken Earth” series, which describes the “way the world ends …for the last time.”  The book begins with the ash falling, the sky darkening as the cold and darkness approach. “Essun–once Damaya, once Syenite, now avenger–has found shelter” inside the earth. She has not, however, found her daughter Nassun, who was taken away by her father after he had bludgeoned to death her younger brother. The book alternates between mother and daughter, as each grows in power, each in her own setting. Alabaster’s life/spirit finally comes to an end, and Essun seeks revenge on those who take him away from her. Hoa is still faithful but hides secrets to his identity, which were hinted at in The Fifth Season, Book One.

February brought “P,” a short inspiring book The Prayer of Jesus by Hank Hanegraff with an introduction by Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ. It is a description of Jesus’s prayer life. One of the most interesting points, which was new to me, was that the verse often translated, “Lord teach us how to pray” more accurately translated is “Lord teach us now to pray”, adding urgency to Peter’s request.

Also in February, I used a Christmas Barnes and Noble gift certificate to buy a paperback copy of John Burley’s psychological thriller, The Quiet Child. It started out a bit slow, but in the last three or four chapters made up for that with several rapid-fire twists and turns. The author describes the book as “a story about the complexities of family…” and it also has a surprise ending that will curl your hair.”

In three days March will roar in, and I will begin Reading with Patrick, a non-fiction book by Michelle Kuo, which has been sitting on my TBR shelf for at least a year. I do not know if I will make it by year’s end, but I am sure I will enjoy every moment of reading through the alphabet!

HALFWAY FINISHED: The Alphabet Challenge

Today I finished Joyce Carol Oates’, The Man Without a Shadow (to be reviewed on this blog soon).  This marks the halfway mark another blogger and I took on together to read a book beginning with each letter of the alphabet (not counting “A,” “An,” and “The.”).  We have both decided to take a break from this challenge until next summer, when we will begin with “N” and continue to the end.

To review, here are the books I’ve read for this challenge:

All the Missing Girls, a mystery/thriller told in reverse by Megan Miranda (This book is reviewed earlier in this blog; use the search box to find a review.)

The Beekeeper’s Daughter   There are about four or five books “out there” by this title, but the one I read was by Santa Montefiore.  (It, too was reviewed on this blog.)

Coming Home, an inspirational book basically the story of the Prodigal Son (with applications) borrowed from my church library.

The Distant Hours, a novel written by Australian author Kate Morton, also reviewed on this blog

Emerald City, an exquisite collection of short stories by Manhattan Beach’s author, Jennifer Egan (reviewed previously)

The Fortelling, by Alice Hoffman (reviewed as well)

Give a Boy A Gun, a novel written by Todd Strasser, which includes on each page snippets from news headlines of school shootings (reviewed on PWR (Powerful Women Readers) also)

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, a Third Tuesday Book Club selection (reviewed on this blog)

I Thought I Was the Only One (But I Wasn’t) by Bene Brown (reviewed as well)

Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Diiie poems by Maya Angelou (mentioned in post “Reading Outside One’s Genre” here at PWR

Kiss Her Goodbye  by Wendy Corsi (reviewed on post, “A Couple of Really Good Reads”)

The Last Apprentice: Curse of the Bane, Book Two of the YA series “The Last Apprentice” (mentioned in Sunday (Evening ) Post for May 7, 2018 here at PWR)

The Man Without a Shadow by Joyce Carol Oates (to be reviewed soon)

Summarizing, three are considered YA books, although as an adult I really enjoyed them all. Only two non-fiction book made my challenge, despite a desire to “read outside my standard, go-to genre, so I have begun a fascinating non-fiction selection, Born Fighting: How the Scots Irish Shaped America by James Webb. I started it this week and am on page 103. It promises to be interesting and informative.

I completed two books by favorite authors, Alice Hoffman and Joyce Carol Oates. There is only one book of short stories, but during the challenge I read another book of short stories, out of order of the alphabet, Tom Hanks’ (Yes, that Tom Hanks) Uncommon Type (reviewed on PWR during The Alphabet Challenge).  There is only one book of poetry I read for the challenge, but another I read during the challenge, blogger and author Colin Chappells’ Just Thinking  (reviewed as well). There were two mystery/thrillers, two novels which included mystery and romance as well (The Beekeeper’s Daughter and  The Distant Hours).   

If nothing else, I have proved I am what I usually describe myself as, when asked, “What kind of books do you like?’ I always answer, “I am an eclectic reader; I’ll read anything!”




It is not yet Sunday, but I am going to do my Sunday(Evening) Post early. Last week I skipped it, giving an update on how I was doing on the Alphabet Challenge instead. This past week…

I finished :

Dying for Space by author and blogger, S.J. Higbee, which I will review during the coming week.

Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Diiie, a collection of poems by Maya Angelou, which counts for the letter “J” in my Alphabet Challenge.


Book VII of the “Dark Tower Series”


Kiss Her Goodbye (Letter “K” in my Alphabet Challenge) by Wendy Corsi Staub

This was an extremely busy week. It reminded me when my mother was alive and living in a retirement home.  She had so many activities to choose from she’d wear herself out at the end of the day and be too tired to sleep at night. I would tell her, “One big thing a day, Mother. One big thing a day.” I am learning to tell myself the same thing, and indeed, I had a big thing every day this past week. Monday I met three students at the Cheesecake Factory in Houston and helped them with an upcoming paper. Tuesday there was a doctor’s appointment in Friendswood first thing. Wednesday is my teaching day at the university, and on the way I stopped and saw a friend in the hospital. Thursday our Bible Support Group met here and we shared a lunch together. Friday brought another  doctor’s appointment, this time in Houston , and today my AAUW group met here for brunch and to fill toiletry bags for the local women’s shelter. Tomorrow I teach fifth graders in Sunday School. I hope to rest and read tomorrow afternoon as well as finish up some school plans and schoolwork.

Hopefully next week will not be quite as demanding, and I’ll have more books read by the next time I do a Sunday (Evening) Post.



This past week was a busy one with doctor’s appointments, a couple of tests (hoops to jump through for insurance coverage of a back procedure I badly need), and readying my Advanced Writing class for Spring Break and the Argument/Research papers that are due on the 21st of March. Therefore, I had a minimum amount of time to read until Friday.  Since then, I have made up for time.

What I finished this past week:

“If you do not like the past, change it”: The Reel Civil Rights Revolution, Historical Memory, and The Making of Utopian Pasts a dissertation for the PhD degree by Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda, my grandson   I started this when it was presented to me back in December and have just now finished it. I must admit that it changed my thinking that all dissertations had to be stuffy and rhetorically “stiff.” I am very glad I took on this huge 8″x11″ page-size book as a labor of love, for I learned a great deal about the Civil Rights era and about the films made that represented it.

Speak by Louise Halse Anderson, a YA novel mentioned by several of my students.  I highly recommend this novel.

Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser This 2000 “classic” is a fictional probe into the mind and motivation of a school shooter, which is “vivid, distressing, and all too real.” (Kirkus Review) The stats and facts peppered across the bottoms of the pages are real and should be alarming to us all.

What I quit reading this past week:

Where’d You Go, Bernadette  I rarely give up on a book, but give up I did on this Third Tuesday Book Club selection for March. I had a copy of the book already, and I voted to read it. I gave it a fair try, reading to page 97 before I hollered “Enough!” and put it down.

Continuing to read this past week:

The Dark Tower by Stephen King the seventh and last book in the series  It just keeps getting better and better.

Started and continuing to read this past week:

The Fortelling by Alice Hoffman Hoffman is one of my favorite authors and she is not disappointing in this magical, mythical tale.

Both The Fortelling and Give a Boy a Gun will count as “F” and “G” in my current “Alphabet Challenge” which is an on-going project. (see earlier post, search “Alphabet Challenge”)

I guess I read more than I realized I did this past week, stealing a precious moment and a resting half-hour here and there. This coming week is Spring Break for us, so maybe I’ll have another week of reading accomplishments. Hope you’ll have many reading accomplishments too.