Sunday (Evening) Post

Instead of going through what I’ve finished, what I’m continuing to read, and what I’ve begun, I want to give a summary of the January challenge I gave myself– to read six books before February first in an attempt to get a few books off my TBR list/shelf.

Here are the six books that led to a successful meeting of the challenge:

  1. The Whole Cat and Caboodle, a cozy mystery by Sofie Ryan that was due back at the local library. It is the first in Ryan’s “Second Chance” series featuring Sarah Grayson, who owns a second-hand shop (Named Second Chance) in a small town.  I chose the book because of the cat on the cover. (Of course there is a cat, this is a cozy mystery!) Sarah hangs out with her grandmother’s friends (Think The Golden Girls…) and one is found with her current beaux (of dubious reputation), his head lying on her shoulder, “deadder” then the proverbial doornail. Is her Grandma’s friend guilty of murder?  That’s what these funny, endearing “girls” are determined to find out.  Sarah’s reaction is not to get involved, but she can’t help herself, and she meets two prospective love interests (to be further developed as the series progresses) as she becomes entangled in the mystery.  The book is a fun “escape read” and provided just what I needed as I geared up for a new semester.
  2. Running Out of Space by S.J. Higbee, a sci fi thriller, adventure-story for YA and for those of us older readers who still feel like young adults. This book was reviewed Saturday on https://powerfulwomenreaders.wordpress.com
  3. The Beekeeper’s Daughter by Santa Montefiore, also a library loan (chose it because the title “sounded familiar” and it was large print.)  It will be reviewed on PWR soon.
  4. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, a book club “assignment” recently reviewed here on PWR.
  5. Morningstar, A book about Growing Up with Books by Ann Head, which will be reviewed soon on PWR. I chose it because of one of Deb Nance’s Readerbuzz posts featuring “Books about Books.”
  6. Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Life in the Stacks, written by librarian, Annie Spence, which contains hilarious and sometimes pensive letters and break-up notes to various books in her reading life as she culls them from the library shelves. Kirkus Review writes, “…begs to be read with a pencil in hand.” So true! It writes, “Spence will make you think of old favorites in a new way.” Warning: This clever, slim little book will expand your TBR list!

There it is–my successful completion of the January attempt to return books checked out over the holidays to the library, read the selection for two book clubs (They both chose Hillbilly Elegy.), and start in on TBR’s I already own. PWR readers may see an overlap of books because I took on “The Alphabet Challenge” another blogger was continuing shortly after I began my own January-Six-Book challenge, and read accordingly.  More on that challenge in another post.

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SUNDAY (EVENING) POST

Tonight’s post needs be brief because I have my fingers in several pies at the moment. We spent the morning at church and heard a great “State of the Church” sermon by our interim pastor, which stated what we had done well in 2017 and gave a stirring challenge for the year to come.  It made me want to “get out there and ‘serve’ .”

Books I am currently reading: My Life With BOB (which stands for Book of Books” and was a gift from a friend.  So far it is a delightful philosophical discussion of books and life in general, each concerning a specific book.

Hillbilly Elegy, our Third Tuesday Book Club selection for January, which I’ve just begun and am not sure yet how I feel about it.

The Beekeeper’s Daughter, a novel that has kept my interest throughout.

A Book I Can Hardly Wait to Start: Emerald City, which was a gift from a friend for Christmas.

I have not done much reviewing since Christmas, but I have entered most of the books I’ve read into my reading log, and shall review them eventually. (Think, “Coming Attractions”)

This coming week is my last chance to invite people over and to socialize by meeting for coffee, lunch or supper before next week, which brings the start of school.  I am ready–sooooo ready. I was so eager to get out of school after Thanksgiving that I can’t believe I am so eager to go back.  I can’t wait to meet my new “crop” of writers and get them started on taking ownership of their writing, plus seeing how my new additions to the course go over. The syllabus is written, and paper copies are ready to hand out; I have pretty well made a (flexible) lesson plan for session one of Advanced Writing.  I have a new group, a new room in an old building I haven’t been in in a long time, and a new start all the way around.  Bring on the new semester!

CHRISTMAS READ-A-THON RESULTS

Saturday, December 23rd, I began my Readathon at 7:00 a.m., and spent the first hour reading my “grandson’s” dissertation, “If You Do Not Like the Past, Change It”: The Reel Civil Rights Revolution, Historical Memory, and the Making of Utopian Pasts. He is a cultural historian and an expert on how films depict history, but even though his dissertation is a very scholarly work, it is surprisingly readable.  Throughout the day, I would return to this huge red book, and covered the end of chapter two and all of chapter three, a total of 130 pages.

By 8:00, I wanted a break and some breakfast, so while I had my coffee and muffin, I read the morning edition of The Houston Chronicle, skimming most, but closely reading two feature articles and all of the comics.

At 8:45, I read on the novel, Manhattan Beach, and over the course of the day, I read approximately 130+ pages.

By 9:00, my e-mails and texts were pinging in, so I dealt with them, plus reading a few blog posts until 9:30 when I returned to Manhattan Beach. It was becoming really interesting by this point.

From then until noon, taking a few minutes out to put dinner in the oven, I read a few chapters of Finish Strong by Richard G. Capen to include some non-fiction reading.

At lunch we had unexpected company, whom, of course, we invited to eat with us, and I broke my Readathon until 3:00 p.m. in order to enjoy a Christmas visit.

Back to the dissertation at 3:00 until 4:00 p.m. when I took a break to clean up the kitchen, grab a snack, and deliver Christmas goodies to neighbors, which, again, required a bit of visiting time.

By 4:30 I was in the mood for Manhattan Beach again, followed by a few pages from Finish Strong when I came to the chapter break of the novel, and then, on to the 5:30 evening news and a light supper.

At 6:00 p.m., I decided to switch to the Kindle app on my laptop and read S. Higbee’s Running Out of Space (I was propelled through several chapters at time-warp speed because of the fast paced action).  The book is an exciting adventure in the future on board a spaceship (and other places). By 8:15, I needed to catch my breath and breathe in some of Earth’s familiar oxygen, so I returned to Finish Strong.  Overall, I managed to read chapters 4-11 of this very inspiring, very readable book.  The only drawback was, while on this book, I often found myself stopping to copy down some parts of it for my quotes book.

Around 8:00 p.m., I secured the house, turned on the outside lights, and prepared myself to finish my reading in bed. Until 9:00, I read on the dissertation, and followed with two of Neil Gaiman’s essays from his The View from the Cheap Seats.  As I became sleepier and sleepier, I decided that approximately 10 hours was a respectable accomplishment for a readathon, and although I didn’t fulfill my goal of finishing a whole book, I did make a good dent in four books on my TBR list.

In spite of not finishing a whole book nor reading for twelve hours, I would deem my little Readathon a success.

Merry Christmas!

SUNDAY (EVENING) POST

Ok, so my Sunday post is being written on Monday evening.  Believe me, it has been a hectic weekend and a busy, busy Monday.

What I finished last week:

Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls, author of Glass Castle; My new second Thursday book club’s selection, The Boston Girl; A wonderful novel by a blogging friend, James Cudney, titled Watching Glass Shatter; Anne Lammot’s beautiful essays, all focused around sewing, Stitches; Dragons: Fearsome Monsters from Myth and Fiction; Sandra Cisneros’ book of love poems, Loose Woman.

Continuing to read:

My “grandson’s” dissertation; Max Lucado’s Anxious for Nothing

Begun:

An attempt to get back to my Lit major roots, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and Renaissance: The Nora White Story by Yecheilyah Ysrayl; Another inspirational book by John Ortberg, I’d Like You More if You Were More Like Me

Finishing and/or reviewing these books ought to be plenty to keep me busy through Thanksgiving.  I’m really looking forward to the holiday.  We are spending it at my “grandson’s”. What are your plans for Turkey Day?

 

Sunday (Evening) Post

After many months of posting Every Other Sunday (Evening), school and life has calmed down enough to where I’m ready to go back to posting a catch up each Sunday evening. School is not out yet, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and the big assignments are basically behind us in both Freshman Composition at the local college and in Advanced Writing at the university. I even find myself reading more and enjoying a few stress free days in a row at times. Now isn’t that nice!

Here’s what I finished since the last Every-Other Sunday (Evening) Post:

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, an outstanding debut novel (reviewed in the post prior to this one on PWR); Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls a novel based on the unique life of the author’s grandmother, which will be reviewed later this week; A Man Called Ove, our Third Tuesday Book Club’s selection for November and Twice Upon a Time, a children’s book, both of which will be reviewed soon on this blog.

Still continuing to read:

The Grouchy Grammarian, a grammar handbook which illustrates the most common errors in print, enough to make any grammar-lover grouchy, and my “grandson’s” dissertation which I put down to get on with my “Color Coded Challenge,” which I will report on and update in another post.

What I began this past week:

The Boston Girl, a 2014 fast read by Anita Diamond, the selection for November in my second reading group which I shall participate in for the first time this coming Thursday. No worries, I have about one hundred pages to go, and the story is so captivating that it will be a pleasant “chore” to finish.

So, I have a fine week of reading and teaching ahead with doctor’s check-ins and appointments behind me for a while, and a great deal to look ahead to. The Holidays are rapidly approaching, and already my house is decorated for Thanksgiving with my favorite kind of cooking and celebrating to come. It is indeed a time to be grateful and to give thanks for so, so many blessings!

Every Other Sunday (Evening) Post

Yes, yes, I know it’s Saturday evening, not Sunday, but I’m going to have such a full Sunday (and Monday, and Tuesday) that I thought while I had a minute to breathe, I’d do so while posting a catch up on what I’ve been reading.

Finished over the past two weeks:

News of The World    This is the Third Tuesday Book Club’s October selection, which I read by mistake, but enjoyed greatly.  Read the recent review of this fine western/historical fiction novel about Texas on this blog.  I believe this fine novel is the Gulf Coast Read for this year.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which will be reviewed early next week.

Lilac Girls, a WWII novel of sisterhood which includes the Holocaust from both the Polish and German point of view along with the fall of France and its liberation.  This novel will also be reviewed soon.

Continuing to read:

Wizards and Glass Book IV of Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower Series.”  I believe this is my second favorite in the Dark Tower Series, the first being Wolves of the Calla, Book V. (Yes, I read them out of order.)

Our America: A Latin American History of the United States

Began this week:

Debbie Mcomber’s non-fiction, anecdotal book, One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity

Rules of Prey by John Sanford, reminiscent of “Criminal Minds” on TV, but with a single investigator, not a team, working on the bizarre case.

I obviously have a great deal of good reading to continue until I write this post again, but my reading time is limited. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday are chock full with church and a student session in the afternoon, a doctor’s appointment and errands on M and a Sunday School coffee here after class on Tuesday.  Wednesday is my full day at the university ; then Thursday after class I hope to spend some time with friends (mother and teenage daughter) whom I haven’t seen since pre-Harvey.  It seems like everything is measured in terms of before and after Harvey these days.  Hopefully as the streets are cleared of debris and we begin to accept our “new normal,” the nightmares of Harvey will fade, and we will begin looking forward to Halloween, Thanksgiving, the semester’s end, and Christmas.  Sometimes it’s nice to look ahead…

 

EVERY-OTHER SUNDAY (EVENING) POST

A quick listing,catch-up is all I have time for tonight, for I still have six, five page Argument/Research papers to grade before tomorrow’s 8:00 am class.

What I finished: The Address, a superb second novel by Fiona Davis, which I will review tomorrow or the next day.

Daughter of Time, reviewed recently on this site.

Today’s Sunday Edition of The Houston Chronicle, a reward for all the hard work I’ve done this weekend.

What I am continuing to read:

A wonderful book of poetry, Poetic Rituals, by a blogging friend.  I have shared several of these poems with  my students in those “settling-down-and-getting-ready-to-start-class-for-real” times. (These occur frequently with an 8 o’clock class!)

Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States, which I confess I haven’t touched or opened this week.  High hopes for next week.

What I have begun:

The Leavers (see excerpt on Tuesday’s Teaser) by Lisa Ko

I have spent my time grading each evening, into the night, doing some much needed grocery shopping and some fine meal planning and cooking (and freezing in preparation for the end of the semester (6 days to go!) when I KNOW I won’t have time to cook and will just want to “warm up something.” My Better Half bought a lovely cheese and fruit tray home today.  We added potato salad from the deli and pan-grilled chicken hot dogs, complimented by pita chips, and we had a light, healthy lunch.  We are trying to eat our main meal at noon which is easier on senior citizen digestions and nocturnal early bedtimes.  Five thirty or six o’clock comes mighty early in the mornings.