THE ALPHABET SOUP CHALLENGE: PART ONE

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The 2019 Alphabet Soup challenge has come to an end. Actually, I finished a month ago but was so busy with Cybils that I am just now posting my results. Here are the alphabetized book titles I read during 2019 for this challenge:

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda.  This mystery/thriller has a very surprising ending and was a most enjoyable who dun it. Although the writer was a well-known one in mystery circles, she was new to me, and I am putting her name on my TBR list. I had a copy that some kind donor left in my Little Free Library. I put it back, and in one day it was gone again.

The Beekeeper’s Daughter by Santa Montefione.  There are several books by this title, but I was lucky enough to find this mystery/romance, “darned good read” at my local library.

Coming Home was a “find” in my church library. Themed around the Prodigal Son parable in the New Testament, it was a challenge to draw closer to God and return home to a Loving Father who is waiting with open arms.

The Distant Hours introduced me to author Kate Morton and to one of the most enjoyable novels I’d read in a long time. It had something for everyone: dark, gloomy castles, British humor, memorable characters, and even a bog monster whose appearance unreeled a family mystery.

Eherald City by Jennifer Egan was a switch to the short story in a collection a friend grave me for Christmas. The stories were set in New York City, thus the title. This was a very readable title by the author of Manhattan Beach, Egan’s novel I interrupted my challenge to read.

The Fortelling by Alice Hoffman. This lovely, with just the right touch of the supernatural, YA novel is by one of my favorite authors, and was one of my favorite reads in the entire challenge.

Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser was a left-turn in my reading, provided by a donation to my LFL. It was a treatise on gun control, written in the form of a novel, a highly effective, very persuasive “what if” from the point of view of a young, mass shooter.

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson was a choice I bought from Half Price Books and recommended it to my book club. They felt it was strange and depressing, and a good friend and I got into a spirited discussion about the ending at the meeting. It is a good piece of contemporary literature, and that, in itself, makes the novel worth reading.

I Thought I Was the Only One (But I Wasn’t) by Brene Brown took me into the genre of non-fiction, something I don’t read enough of, and an introduction to this Houston-based professor and writer. It was an excellent read which led to several Ted Talks by Brown on shaming and other timely topics for self improvement and self-love.

Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘For I Diiie was a collection of poetry by the wonderful Maya Angelou, one of my favorite poets since undergrad days. She did not disappoint.

Kiss Her Goodbye by Wendy Cross, whom I’d read before,  was another murder-mystery that appeared in my LFL and provided a sccratch-your-head who dun it that gave me a break in my serious reading. I needed a quick page-turner and found it in this novel.

The Last Apprentice Book II of the series, titled “Curse of the Bane” by Joseph Delaney read well as a stand-alone YA novel, thanks to the author giving just enough background from the first novel. There was plenty of witchcraft, white magic and supernatural to keep the book interesting.

SUNDAY (EVENING) POST

I enjoyed reading Sarah at Brainfluff’s “Sunday Post” so much for so many years that several years back, I added my own Sunday Post, but named it “Sunday (Evening) Post because I never could seem to get to it until Sunday night and in honor of the old magazine, The Saturday Evening Post. It is my attempt to catch readers up on what I am reading now, what I have finished, and what I have just begun. I am a reader who reads multiple books at a time, often switching books for variety and because I have books stashed in different rooms of the house and in the car for times of “unavoidable delay.”

What I am reading now

I am still continuing Americanah by Ngozi Adichie on my laptop’s Kindle. My problem with finishing it is I forget it’s “on there.”

I recently started and am now on chapter twenty-three of The Rosie Result by Graeme Simison, the final book in his Don Tillman Trilogy. It is as warm and funny as the first book, The Rosie Project, and even better than the second, The Rosie Effect. The entire series is one I often recommend to people who don’t enjoy reading, and almost always they are won over.

In an effort to clear my TBR shelves (yes, plural) I am continuing to read The Mercy of the Tides by Keith Rosson. It has been a long time since I have read a police procedural, and so far this one is an enjoyable read.

In order to support my church library, two weeks ago I checked out God Was Here and I Was Out to Lunch by James W. Moore. I am still reading, keeping this book in my guest bedroom for when I am wakeful, and My Better Half is blissfully snoring away.

To supplement my Advanced Writing class, I bought This Is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for Young Writers in the Real World by Kerri Majors at Half Price Books, and I have read almost thirty pages at this point.

On my iPad Kindle, I have downloaded a romance, something I rarely read, but this one is set in the fifties, a time when I was struggling with the “new-to-me” concept of dating, which makes for nostalgic reading. The book is Jaqueline L. Sullivan’s Lovesick, a book another blogger reviewed and recommended.

Since July 29th, my last Sunday (Evening) Post (I can’t believe I completely skipped the month of August!), I have finished the following:

The Sparrow by Mary Dorie Russell (to be reviewed soon/ Aftermath by Suzanne Morris(Reviewed recently )/ Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlin (to be reviewed soon)/ Who Was Jackie Kennedy? by Bonnie Bader/ and the Netflix series The Outlander

I have just begun

Barbara Leaming’s Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story   The two books on Jackie Kennedy are in preparation for my Third Tuesday book club at the Alvin Libary.  Each of us selected a First Lady to read about and present to the group.  It ought to be an interesting (and perhaps lengthy) meeting.

HAPPY READING ALL!

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!”

 

 

SUNDAY EVENING POST

My Sunday Evening Post has turned into an every-other-Sunday-post, so today’s post will be a catch up for the past two weeks.

I Finished:

The Book of Awesome Women  a wonderful book which was my first “professional review.” (see previous post, please)

bel hooks’ Feminism is for Everyone, a book which explained today’s brand of feminism vs. the “militant” feminism of the 70’s and 80’s.  It was enlightening and educational.

Children’s Books: The Classroom at the End of the Hall, Punished, Ida B., Saving Zsasha, and Mister and Me     All were chapter books, some with more chapters than others, but because they were for junior high and below, they were fast reads.

The Houston Chronicle’s Sunday Edition for each of the two weeks.  This is my fun thing to do on Sunday afternoons when it is too hot to go out or to go anywhere here in Texas.

The Good American, which will be reviewed next week

Jo Jo Moyes’ Paris for One and Other stories, a novelette and eight other very short short stories  (To be reviewed next week also)

I am Continuing to Read:

Poetic Rituals by author and blogger Ritu Bhatal   I am so glad I bought this book of poems.  I just wish I could make it last longer.  I reward myself with two or so poems each day.

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey a mystery published in large print in 1951   I have just begun but am totally intrigued.

I worked on:

The plans for my Bookworm Club which starts Tuesday

The syllabus and curriculum (plus lesson plans) for my Comp II class that begins at the local community college Wednesday.

I have been a busy girl and enjoyed visiting with friends (and a couple of doctors) these past two weeks as well.

Here’s hoping the week ahead is good for me and for you.  Happy Reading!