Autumn Is Around the Corner and Other Musings

 

It’s incredibly hard for me to believe how much time has passed since I last posted here on the blog. So much has been going on. And honestly, a few times I’ve wanted to write….but the words just eluded me. I couldn’t seem to write anything. In my family, my husband is the gifted writer. He can get an idea for a story and sit down and write several chapters in one sitting. Just like that. I think I’m a bit jealous. LOL It takes me awhile to write. What might take my husband 20 minutes to write, would likely take me at least a week (or longer!). Anyhoo…..

Right now, though, I’m just writing. Putting pen to paper – or in this case fingers to the keyboard – and sharing. Not worrying if it flows or if it’s grammatically correct or if it’s not good writing. Just writing. 🙂

Fall Leaf Border

Where we live, it seems like it takes FOREVER for Autumn to arrive. It’s mid-September and we are still having 90 degree temperatures. Ugh. But I know that Autumn is just around the corner. And I CANNOT WAIT! Fall is my favorite season of the year. I love all things fallish – apple pie, baked apples, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pancakes, hot apple cider, sweatshirts, falling leaves, and all the beautiful colors the trees display.

Autumn Leaves

I don’t know if it’s the thought of Autumn coming soon or not, but I’m in the mood to tackle another long classic. Which classic you may ask? Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. It’s been on my classics-to-read list for a good while. However, Masterpiece Theatre (PBS) recently made a new mini-series production of it and I really wanted to try to get the book read before watching it. But there just wasn’t enough time. My husband and I did watch the series and it ranks up there with my favorite productions of this novel. I just finished up reading The Two Towers by Tolkien on Sunday night so I started reading Les Miserables last night:  first reading an introduction that talked about the book and the author Victor Hugo, and then reading a couple of chapters.

I think there’s something about the cooler weather that’s coming soon that invites me to begin reading this long classic. Have you ever felt like tackling longer books in the fall and winter?

Fall Leaf Border

I know I also need to do an update of what I’ve been reading this year. Maybe it would just be easiest to list my titles here and just share a brief note here and there on the books I read for myself. That sounds good. So let’s give that a go. My last update was back in the first of February where I shared what I read in January. Wow! So here’s what I’ve read since then. If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I read a lot of children’s books because I have a kiddo who is an avid reader. So my list of children’s books is lengthy. Some are books I pre-read (and not all books I pre-read get passed on to my daughter. That’s why I pre-read. 🙂 ) Other books in this list we did as read-alouds.

Ok. So first is the list of books for me that I read, then follows the list of children’s books I read. In my first list of books I read for me, classics are listed first then non-fiction then contemporary fiction.

My Reads

Classics

  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes – For the most part, I enjoyed Book I. It is very humorous! However, I felt like Book II fell a little flat. Mainly I think because it felt like it was just one episode after another repeating itself and therefore felt a bit monotonous. Still, it is well-written and I am glad I read it.
  • The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim (re-read) – Love this book! 4 stars
  • Excellent People by Anton Chekhov (short story)
  • Expensive Lessons by Anton Chekhov (short story)
  • The Princess by Anton Chekhov (short story)
  • The Aeneid by Virgil – I chose this as an ancient classic to read for my own personal reading challenge.
  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie – This was my first Agatha Christie novel and I did enjoy it for the most part. I’m not a huge detective story reader but I felt this one was well-written and would consider reading another Christie novel.
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (re-read) – This is my favorite Austen book I’ve read so far. I listed it as one of my favorite reads of 2016.
  • The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien – I really like this series by Tolkien so far. This particular one is probably not my favorite but still very good. So far, I give the whole series 4 stars.
  • The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis
  • The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis
  • The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis – This was my least favorite of the whole Narnia series. But I still give the whole series 4 stars!

Non-Fiction

  • How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler
  • Becoming by Michelle O’bama
  • Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham – I love the show Gilmore Girls, so this was a fun read for me.
  • Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl – I didn’t care for this one as much as I thought I might.
  • The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida – This book is all about what Naoki’s autistic world is like, told by himself.

Contemporary Fiction

  • Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson – I only gave this one 3 stars. But I think I might want to read it again sometime after having listened to the author speak about the book.
  • A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline (re-read) – This is a 4 star read for me.
  • I’ll See You In Paris by Michelle Gable – I really enjoyed this one.
  • 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff – This was just okay. I was a bit disappointed with it, being that I really like the epistolary form of writing.
  • The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – I gave the whole Hunger Games series 5 stars. I have seen the movies and my sister had told me awhile back that I really should read the books. She said the books really give so much more context to the movies. So I finally bought the books and decided to read them. I’m pretty picky with what books I give 5 stars too. But The Hunger Games series has earned it’s spot with my 5 star books. This series is not easy to read. It is heavy, intense, and emotionally charging. But the writing is compelling and I didn’t want to put the books down. If you like the dystopian genre, I highly recommend these books.
  • A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn – I did enjoy this one but may not read any more in the series.
  • Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry –  I really enjoyed this book. It is a good example of a well-written character-driven novel.  4 stars
  • Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly – Another historical fiction I gave 4 stars
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – I read so many good reviews of this book but I just wasn’t that impressed with it.
  • The Gown by Jennifer Robson – Loved this book! If you are a fan of the Netflix series The Crown, you will probably like this book. 4 stars

Children’s Books

  • Greenglass House by Kate Milford
  • A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
  • Who Was Alexander Graham Bell? by Bonnie Bader
  • Who Was George Washington Carver by Jim Gigliotti
  • Where is the Amazon? by Sarah Fabiny
  • Red Sand, Blue Sky by Cathy Applegate
  • Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff
  • The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events #4)
  • The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
  • One Voice:  The Story of William Wilberforce by Amy Lykosh
  • By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman
  • Freedom Train by Dorothy Sterling
  • Shades of Gray by Carolyn Reeder
  • Sing Down the Moon by Scott O’Dell
  • Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
  • Helen Keller by Margaret Davidson
  • The Wright Brothers by Quentin Reynolds
  • Hero Over Here by Kathleen V. Kudlinski
  • George Washington Carver by Janet and Geoff Benge
  • The Seventeenth Swap by Eloise McGraw
  • Plain Girl by Virginia Sorensen
  • Henry Reed, Inc. by Keith Robertson
  • Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
  • Of Courage Undaunted by James Daugherty
  • Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham

Fall Leaf Border

This year has been a year of no reading challenges except for the one I created for myself. And I have to say, I’m a bit behind in trying to complete my own reading challenge! Ha! But it’s been a pretty good reading year so far overall. I still have a couple of books I’d like to tackle before the year is out, but that may not happen. I am definitely seeing that I tend to be a mood reader. Which isn’t to say that I only read what I’m in the mood for. I definitely read books that I have scheduled out. And of course I still read a lot of children’s fiction. I also have book club titles to read as well. But reading Les Miserables is a prime example of me picking up a book because I am feeling drawn to read it. I have a number of books I’ve wanted to tackle this year but have decided they can wait while I pick up Les Miserables. 🙂

Les Miserables

So to get myself back in the swing of writing here on the blog again hopefully more consistently, I think I will blog my way through Les Miserables by simply sharing quotes from the book each week as I read it. Maybe I will add some thoughts here and there. But mainly just share quotes from the week’s reading.

What are some of your favorite longer classics (or any books 🙂 )
to snuggle up with in cooler weather?

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8 thoughts on “Autumn Is Around the Corner and Other Musings

  1. Hey Karen… So good to read another post. Long time… It’s been at least that long since I’ve posted on my blog! You’re done a lot of reading. Very impressive. About Les Miserables, I both read and listened to it at the same time last spring (I think the audio book was 62 hours long!) and it was wonderful! I’ve seen several movie adaptations and none were as good as the book itself. There were rather tedious portions that went on and on and on, but overall it was excellent. Almost immediately upon finishing the book I found myself missing Jean Valjean and I think this one will be reread much sooner than later. Enjoy!

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    • Hi Linda! I am really liking Les Mis so far! I’m not that far into it yet, but already what I’ve read has added so much to the movies I’ve watched. The whole chapter right at the beginning of the book that described the priest and described his character, that just added so much more depth to only seeing the character portrayed in the movies.

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  2. Ah yes ….. sometimes you just have to write ….. I, too, get too concerned with details and that can stop you from actually doing it. I find the Top Ten Tuesdays help me when I get in a little bit of a slump …. lists and a little bit of writing to keep me going.

    What an awesome list of books and many that I’ve read or am familiar with! That’s wonderful that you’re reading so many children’s books. I always have good intentions of reading them and resurrecting my old children’s blog but I never seem to have enough time. And a little bird told me that Silvia might be doing a read-along of Don Quixote Part II. She has such excellent insights on Don Quixote and I’d love to participate. Part II fell a little flat for me, so I’d love to learn how to appreciate it more.

    Well, all the best with your reading for the rest of the year. I’ll be looking forward to reading your posts!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not familiar with the Top Ten Tuesdays. I’ll have to check that out.

      I felt the same way about Don Quixote Part II. So I am excited to hear that Silvia might be doing a read-along for it! I’d love to have some more insight into it. Sometimes I’ll read a book and might find it just so-so; but if I’m able to discuss that book with others and draw more insight through that discussion, I sometimes change my mind about the book. Or even want to go back and re-read it with having had that discussion and gaining new insight into the book. 🙂 That’s one of the reasons I love reading books with other people!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Same here. My favorite experience as a reader, it’s this one you describe, when reading and discussing with others makes me change my opinion of a book for better.

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  3. I join Linda to say that you have read much and well. I am very impressed. I agree with your rating of The Hunger Games, amazing books and movies.
    I’m wishing you a wonderful experience with Les Mis.

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