Favorites to Re-Read

We had a great discussion in the comments of my post on my Recent Bookish Thoughts. One of the things I talked about (and others shared their thoughts on in the comments) is re-reading books. You can check out that post HERE.

So I’ve been thinking….I’d love to hear what books YOU like to re-read. Being not much of a re-reader, there’s only a few books that I read for myself that I’ve re-read. So I’d love to hear what books have been YOUR favorites to read over again. And maybe again and again… 🙂

I’ll start by sharing three books I have re-read. And if you’ve been a reader of my blog, then you will recognize these because I’ve talked about them before. 😉

The Reading Promise

I’ve read The Reading Promise twice and can see myself possibly reading it again. I’ve mentioned before that I was just drawn into the author’s world. Sometimes I found myself laughing…..sometimes I would find my eyes watery with tears. This book illustrates the power of reading aloud and the power of books in general. If you haven’t read this one, I highly recommend it!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society for the third time last week. I really like the way it’s written…it’s written in the epistolary style and I think reading letters back and forth can really draw the reader in. I am also a huge fan of historical fiction and this book most definitely is that. I also appreciate the snarkiness of the main character and think the author(s) did a brilliant job of mixing humor with the heavy (the setting is just after World War II). But beyond all that, or maybe because it’s the combination of all those things, there is just something about this book that is a comfort read for me. If you don’t like this book, just don’t tell me. I may just be heart-broken. 😉 Just kidding. 🙂

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Finally, I LOVE The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It’s a moving story and also has absolutely stunning pictures! I’ve read it twice now and can’t wait to read it aloud with my daughter! You can read my thoughts on it HERE.

So those are three favorite books of mine that I have re-read. Now it’s your turn! What books have you read more than once and why?

P.S. – Just a reminder that I will be hosting a book club here on my blog for The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. You can check out my post Book Club Coming In May for more details of the spring/summer line up of book clubs beginning with The Remains of the Day hosted here and then the other book clubs Silvia will be hosting. I will be putting up a post next week introducing the book and giving the schedule. Be sure to subscribe to my blog over in the sidebar so that you don’t miss a post!

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Some Recent Bookish Thoughts

This may be a bit of a rambling post. 🙂 This week there’s been a good discussion at Silvia’s blog about re-considering reading goals, book challenges, and more. And Silvia also wrote another post about poetry that got me thinking about my reading habits. I, too, have recently been thinking about what my reading goals initially were at the beginning of the year, and have been considering dropping my reading challenge. I get so excited in December when the book challenges come out and it is really hard to resist not joining in. Silvia put it so well when she described it as a “momentum” and seeing all the possibilities of book choices lying ahead of us in the new year. But recently, for some reason, I have been feeling a bit boxed in with my reading challenge. Like I need to make sure I get those categories completed and maybe that might mean I have to set aside other books I might want to read to do so. It’s silly really I guess….because the reading challenge doesn’t have to be that. It can be a fun way to gather inspiration for new titles. But being a task-oriented person sometimes, I think I’ve begun to be task-oriented with my reading challenge….. I think because maybe deciding to *do* a reading challenge makes a difference for me versus just looking at reading challenges but not trying to necessarily *do* them.

Anyway, thinking about all this has got me thinking about why I read and the pace at which I read books sometimes. Reading Silvia’s post about poetry also got me thinking about re-reading and the benefits of that.

I read for enjoyment. But I also like to stretch myself to read books I feel it would be good for me to read at some point. Like certain classics that I may not particular *want* to read but know it would be good to read them because they are so widely known and maybe referenced a lot – like The Iliad and The Odyssey for example. I never read these in high school and so I’m reading The Iliad right now. I don’t particular like it a whole lot, but I think it’s good for me to read it. It stretches me as a reader. A lot of ancient literature (including epic poetry) tends to be that way for me. It can be challenging for me to read but I know it can help me grow as a reader.

Another reason I read is to learn. And this year, one of my goals is to read more memoirs, biographies, and other non-fiction books like history and science. I also want to incorporate more essays and short stories and plays.

I also like to read a book on a whim if I find a book that grabs my interest. And I like to read in community if I can because I need to discuss books.
Books

 

Regarding reading habits, I was thinking about a quote Silvia had in her post from the book she read called Lectures on Literature by Nabokov. I haven’t read this book. You can read more of Silvia’s thoughts on it at her blog. Anyway, she included the following quote from Nabokov in her post:

“Curiously enough, one cannot read a book: one can only reread it. A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader is a rereader.”

This quote reminded me of something Adler said in his book How to Read a Book. One of the things Adler discusses in this book is different levels of reading. Concerning one of the levels he calls inspectional reading Adler says:

“…most people, even many quite good readers, are unaware of the value of inspectional reading. They start a book on page one and plow steadily through it, without even reading the table of contents. They are thus faced with the task of achieving a superficial knowledge of the book at the same time that they are trying to understand it.” (pg. 19)

“Skimming or pre-reading is the first sub-level of inspectional reading. Your main aim is to discover whether the book requires a more careful reading.” (pg. 32)

After the inspectional reading – where you discover what type of book it is, what it’s about, etc. – there’s what Adler calls analytical reading. About this he says:

“Analytical reading is thorough reading, complete reading, or good reading…the best and most complete reading that is possible given unlimited time.”(pg. 19)

Of course Adler says a lot more about these levels of reading; but these particular things stood out to me.

First, let me say regarding these quotes from How to Read a Book that I think that maybe this may not apply across the board for fiction. However, I do think there could be many fiction books these principles could apply to. What do you think? I’m thinking about a book like Wuthering Heights. I can totally see the benefit of more than one reading for this book. The first reading gives you the story-line and how it ends and is like an introduction. Then the next time around, I imagine one could pick up on more in the novel because it is such a complex book.

I know, this is a winding rabbit trail… LOL Anyway, these various quotes have me thinking about re-reading though. How I have a tendency sometimes to plow through some books that maybe are ones that I would benefit more from a slower reading and maybe even a re-reading. I am not typically a re-reader. And if I do re-read a book, you know I must have REALLY liked it. There are just so many books I want to read. And you know, maybe sometimes re-reading feels like time I could be spending reading another book on my To-Be-Read list. But I do see the benefits of re-reading; and maybe I need to make more room in my reading life for it.

As far as slow vs. fast reading pace, I don’t think it has to be one way or the other. I think it can be both. I do think that some books are just quick reading books. And sometimes I just can’t resist reading quickly to find out how the book ends! And that’s OKAY! But books that are meant to stretch me as a reader or books I’m reading to learn and grow, maybe those are more the books for me to put in that category of slower reading. And possibly re-reading. In the end, I just don’t think I will tend to re-read lots of books. But I would like to grow in that area and make more time for re-reading.

So these are my rambling book thoughts recently. What do YOU think about reading pace and re-reading? Have you been re-evaluating your reading goals for this year? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights

Title:  Wuthering Heights
Author:  Emily Brontë
Length:  353  pages
Genre:  Classic Literature; Classic Gothic Literature


About This Book

Wuthering Heights starts with the developing relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine. Love grows and they feel they are soul mates. But when events separate them, revenge takes root and the effects are widespread. This is a complex and volatile story of love, betrayal, and revenge. Brontë’s exquisite writing will keep you turning the pages.


My Thoughts

Wuthering Heights is the first novel I’ve read from the writings of the Brontë sisters. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this novel before reading it. It seems that this is one that people either love or they don’t like it at all. I fall on the liked-the-book side.

This is most definitely not a happy novel; the themes and content are heavy and hard. Despite the tough content though, the writing is compelling and I didn’t want to put it down. I felt Brontë did a great job at painting a portrait of her characters and then developing them. She also gave vivid descriptions of the surroundings (such as the moors) without being overly wordy. As an aside, it is said that Emily loved the moors and that this is evident in the novel.

Revenge and cruelty are predominant themes in Wuthering Heights. Brontë not only illustrates the affects of revenge and cruelty, but also the power of kindness and how it can be transformative. As I read this novel, the themes reminded me a lot of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

I plan to read Wuthering Heights again. I think that because it is such a complex novel, this is one that could stand up to multiple readings. It is definitely well-written and I can see why it eventually became known as an English literary classic.

Book Club Coming In May

This spring and summer, I am planning to participate in some book clubs Silvia will be hosting at her blog. And I am honored and excited to partner with Silvia in kicking off the book clubs by hosting one of them here on my blog in May. Starting mid-May, we will be reading The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. The following is the edition I have which is what I will be reading from and basing the schedule off of.

The Remains of the Day

Then starting in mid-June, Silvia will be hosting two book clubs. First, The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro:

The Buried Giant
And second, East of Eden by John Steinbeck:

East of Eden

 

In August, we are looking at doing a book club for a book by Galdós. We haven’t finalized plans for this yet, but right now the plan is for me to host it here at my blog or we may decide to co-host it together. Stay tuned for more information on that this summer.

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Reading Schedules
Silvia has already posted an initial reading plan for The Buried Giant and East of Eden on her blog. So you can check that out HERE.

The initial schedule of book club posts for The Remains of the Day is May 24thMay 31stJune 7th, and
June 14th. I will either do a wrap-up in the final week or do a separate wrap-up post after the June 14th post. At the beginning of May, I will do an introduction post, complete with a reading schedule. That post will serve as the landing page for all the posts for The Remains of the Day book club discussions.

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I’m really excited to read all of these books! I hope you will join us as we read these together!

Enhance Your Reading Life with A Free Book Reading Log

Last year I shared about how keeping track of the books I read really enhanced my reading life. I shared:

Until last year, I wasn’t so great at tracking the books that I read. So one of my goals last year, along with trying to complete a reading challenge, was to be more intentional about keeping a list of the books I read. And you know what I found? Keeping a list of the books I read throughout the year really enhanced my reading life. How? Because it helped me see not only how many books I read (which actually surprised me!), but also it reflected the variety of books I read as well. And truly, there’s something to being able to look back at all the books you’ve read. It feels like a sense of accomplishment somehow.

Also, if you want to read more, it’s a good chance that keeping a list of what you are reading will actually encourage you to read more. So this year, if you want to enhance your reading life, start with keeping a list of the books you read.

In that post, I offered a set of book reading logs. I’ve updated those book reading logs and instead of being date specific, they now have a blank space for the year. As I explained in my post last year, there are two different logs.

If the thought of keeping a reading journal feels a bit overwhelming and you’d prefer to just make a few brief comments about the books you are reading, then Book Reading Log A is the one for you! Included is a small space for each book entry where you can make a few brief comments or notes about the book.

If you already keep a reading journal and simply want a log to track your books, then Book Reading Log B is perfect. It is simply a reading log to keep track of all the books you read with no section for comments.

Choose which Book Reading Log you prefer, download it, and print off as many pages as you need. The first page of both logs has the title on it and the second page doesn’t. I created both pages because I like to have a title on the first page but not on all the subsequent pages I print out.   🙂

Book Reading Log A

Book Reading Log B

Happy Reading!

What I’ve Been Reading Lately ~ February, 2018

I’ve been thinking about my reading habits and one thing I’ve noticed is that I tend to read a lot in January; and this January was no exception.When the weather gets really cold outside, I tend to want to stay at home more and not get out into the cold. And what better way to escape the cold weather than with a good book! 🙂 I will only highlight a few titles here (with a note for ones that were for the MMD reading challenge).


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
By Mark Haddon

Category:  A Banned Book

When looking for books for this category, I came across this title and was intrigued. It’s a story about a 15 year old boy with autism (who is also the narrator of the book) who finds his neighbor’s dog dead and is determined to find out who killed it. One of his teachers tells him he ought to write a story and so he begins to write about solving this mystery. In the process, the reader gets a lot of insight into his life. I read that this book was banned because of profanity. So heads up, there is a good bit of language, including strong language. His story drew me in and I felt that the author created a character that could help readers understand a little bit more about the world of autism.


The Duel

The Duel
By Anton Chekhov

This was a book chosen by one of the members of my classics book club for our February read. The Duel is a novella which probes the depths of human weakness and the ability for people to change. This short novella is a quick read, but packed with depth.


The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux
By Kate DiCamillo

This was a re-read for me and I was reminded of how much I really like this children’s book. Despereaux is not your ordinary mouse. He has big ears, is born with his eyes open, and loves to read. He ends up committing the ultimate no-no in mouse life….he talks to a human. And what ensues is a story of adventure for the little mouse that didn’t quite fit in to his mouse community.


Great Expectations

Great Expectations
By Charles Dickens

I have a great appreciation for the works of Charles Dickens. But I admit I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to working my way through this book even though it has been on my list of classics to read. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really liked this novel! I think Dicken’s writing ability shines in this novel and it is by far my favorite. Great Expectations is a coming-of-age story of the main character, Pip. We follow his life from youth to adulthood, as the adult Pip narrates the story of his life. There’s convicts, a bitter lady bent on revenge, love and love lost, and of course an intricate weaving of various threads in the novel.


Rebecca

Rebecca
By Daphne Du Maurier

Category:  A Classic You’ve Been Meaning to Read

I had been wanting to read this classic for months and promptly chose it for the reading challenge category “A Classic You’ve Been Meaning to Read”. I had seen the Alfred Hitchcock movie production of this novel before and really liked it so I couldn’t wait to read the novel. The author succeeded in crafting a good suspense story. It also makes a great book club selection because there are many topics that could be discussed. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the novel and definitely like the movie much better.


Other Books I Read in January

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
A Series of Unfortunate Events #1:  The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
The House of Sixty Fathers by Meidert Dejong
The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave


What have you been reading lately?

Looking for a Change of Pace in Your Reading Life Right Now?

I don’t know about you, but I am in the mood for a change of pace in my reading life right now. I’ve been reading a number of books lately that have been heavier. While I’ve enjoyed a number of them, I am ready for something different. Something lighter or funnier…..or something more spring-y….or something shorter. And I got to thinking, maybe others would be in the mood for something different in their reading lives too.

Being February, a month that for many can feel a bit more depressing with its gray, gloomy skies and colder weather, I thought it might just be the perfect time to do a blog book club together! A chance to have a change of pace with our reading, maybe re-reading a favorite classic, and best of all….discussing it together! What do you think? Would you like to join in?

To add even more fun to it, YOU get to decide the book! Below I am listing the options with a brief reason for why they each might be a good pick for right now. Then let me know your choice in the comments section. At the beginning of next week (by Wednesday), I will post which one wins out and give details about the book club.

pride-and-prejudice

Pride and Prejudice
By Jane Austen

What could be more fun than visiting the Bennett’s and traveling to Pemberley? Austen hasn’t yet made the rank of favorite author for me, but I love this book! Fun and engaging, this is a great go-to pick when wanting a funnier, lighter classic novel.

 

the-enchanted-april

The Enchanted April
By Elizabeth von Arnim

This is not quite on the lighter, funnier side; but it is set in Italy in the spring. And what better way to lift up one’s spirit than Italy in the springtime? But Italy in the springtime isn’t the only thing that makes this a good pick-me-up, it’s also all about healing and restoration.

 

the-phantom-tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth
By Norton Juster

C. S. Lewis once said:  “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” In my opinion, The Phantom Tollbooth is one of those children’s books that can be enjoyed at any age. This book is clever, witty, and at times laugh out loud funny. The story is well-written and very engaging. Looking for a lighter, fun read? This one won’t disappoint. First published in 1961, this one could now be considered a classic.

 

The Reading Promise

The Reading Promise
By Alice Ozma

Are you more in the mood for something in the non-fiction genre? This is a more recently published book but one that is perfect for illustrating the power of reading aloud and the power of books in general. What better way to add a change of pace in your reading life than reading about the power of books and reading? I think you’ll find this book engaging and inspiring.

Okay readers, it’s your time to pick. Which one of these books do YOU choose?

2017 Reading Year Wrap-Up

It’s hard to believe that in less than 24 hours it will be 2018! And I’m just getting this post up in the nick of time! (I’ve been sick all week with a yucky cold and thus it took me a little longer to get this post written.) It’s been a great reading year for me and I’ve enjoyed participating in the 2017 Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge.

For this wrap-up post, I’m going to share the books I’ve read in a couple of different ways. First, I’ll list the books I read this year in total (organized by categories). Then after that, I’ll show what books qualified for the reading challenge. I did not complete every single category. But I did complete many and feel it was a very successful reading challenge for me this year. Finally, at the end I’ll share a few of my favorites for the year.

So first, here’s the list in total, including reading challenge books, and it’s organized by category. If I’ve written a book summary for any particular book, then I’ve linked the title to its book summary post.

Children’s Literature
The One and Only Ivan By Katherine Applegate
The Wizard of Oz Series Books 1-5 By L. Frank Baum:

*The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
*The Marvelous Land of Oz
*Ozma of Oz
*Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz
*The Road to Oz

Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
Welcome to Silver Street Farm by Nicola Davies
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (started in 2016; picked back up and finished in February 2017)
Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
Thimble Summer By Elizabeth Enright
Heidi by Johanna Spryri
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (a re-read)
BFG by Roald Dahl
Minn of the Mississippi by Holling C. Holling
Miranda the Great by Eleanor Estes
The Moffats by Eleanor Estes
Ribsy by Beverly Cleary
Chanticleer and the Fox by Geoffrey Chaucer and Barbara Cooney
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Poor Richard by James Daugherty
Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
Letters to Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien

Classic Fiction
David Copperfield By Charles Dickens
Persuasion By Jane Austen
The Enchanted April By Elizabeth von Arnim
Beowulf translated by John McNamara
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Trial by Franz Kafka
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton

Modern Fiction
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer By Fredrik Backman
The One-in-a-Million Boy By Monica Wood
After The Fall By Noah Hawley
The Snow Child By Eowyn Ivey
The Language of Flowers By Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The Bookshop on the Corner By Jenny Colgan
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry By Gabrielle Zevin
Big Little Lies By Liane Moriarty
A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
The Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan (I just got this one squeezed in at the last!)

Poetry and Plays
Robert Frost’s Poems With an Introduction and Commentary by Louis Untermeyer
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Historical Fiction
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet By Jamie Ford
All the Light We Cannot See By Anthony Doerr
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society By Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Salt to the Sea By Ruta Sepetys (YA Genre)

This is the first year I categorized the books I read and I’ve found it really helpful in getting a visual of what types of books I read throughout the year. My youngest daughter LOVES to read. So I read a good bit of children’s literature in a year’s time. I also saw that I read a bit more modern fiction than classics. In what I read for modern and classic fiction, though, I do feel there was a decent variety. However, when looking back over my list, I would like to add in other types of writing such as a memoir, biography, maybe some essays or short stories. And I’ve done that with some of my selections for this coming year’s reading challenge.

As for how I did with the 2017 Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge, here’s how the books plugged in to the categories.

reading-for-growth

A Newbery Award Winner or Honor Book
The One and Only Ivan
By Katherine Applegate

A Book in Translation
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
By Fredrik Backman

A Book That’s More Than 600 Pages
David Copperfield
By Charles Dickens

A Book of Poetry, a Play, or an Essay Collection
Robert Frost’s Poems
With an Introduction and Commentary by Louis Untermeyer

An Immigrant Story
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet 
By Jamie Ford

A Book Published Before You Were Born
Persuasion
By Jane Austen

Three Books By the Same Author
The Wizard of Oz Series Books 1-5
By L. Frank Baum

*The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
*The Marvelous Land of Oz
*Ozma of Oz
*Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz
*The Road to Oz

A Book By an #ownvoices or #diversebooks Author
The One-in-a-Million Boy
By Monica Wood

A Book Nominated for an Award in 2017
After The Fall
By Noah Hawley

A Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award Winner
All the Light We Cannot See
By Anthony Doerr

reading-for-fun

A Book You Chose for the Cover
The Snow Child
By Eowyn Ivey

A Book with a Reputation for Being Un-put-down-able
The Language of Flowers
By Vanessa Diffenbaugh

A Book Set Somewhere You’ve Never Been But Would Like to Visit
The Bookshop on the Corner
By Jenny Colgan

A Book You’ve Already Read
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
By Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

A Book About Books or Reading
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
By Gabrielle Zevin

A Book in a Genre You Usually Avoid
Big Little Lies
By Liane Moriarty

A Book Recommended By Someone with Great Taste
Salt to the Sea
By Ruta Sepetys

A Book You Were Excited to Buy or Borrow but Haven’t Read Yet
The Enchanted April
By Elizabeth von Arnim

 

Favorites

I’ve enjoyed a lot of what I read this year with there really only being a couple that I didn’t care for or wouldn’t recommend. As for my favorites, it’s always hard to pick favorites because I enjoy so many.  So I think the best thing to do is to try to just highlight a few that I really enjoyed reading. These are all books I give 5 stars and I’ve chosen one from each of the categories in my list at the beginning of this post.

alices-adventures-in-wonderland-and-through-the-looking-glass

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Okay, so this is two. But they go together. 😉 These two are among my favorite read-alouds. And this year, I read them a second time on my own and loved them just as much. I feel they are somewhat lyrical and of course funny and quite clever.

the-enchanted-april

The Enchanted April By Elizabeth von Arnim

I love the movie production starring Joan Plowright, Miranda Richardson, Josie Lawrence, and Michael Kitchen (among other notable names in the cast) and had seen it numerous times before reading the book. One of the things I love about this book is how it takes an in-depth look at relationships. The reader gets to plunge into the theme of restoration as the characters take a look at their lives and find restoration for themselves, for their lives, and for their relationships. I feel like the movie and book compliment each other well. While there are definitely differences between the two, I found that I enjoyed them both equally as much. I wrote up a brief description of the book HERE.

the-language-of-flowers

The Language of Flowers By Vanessa Diffenbaugh

What can I say….this book was simply unputdownable. The writing was superb, the characters were developed well, and the story draws the reader in. This book had me in tears more than once. By far, this was one of my top favorites of the year. You can read my description of it HERE.

Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea By Ruta Sepetys

It’s no secret that I love historical fiction. And if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile then you probably know that one of my all-time favorites is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. In fact, I read it again this year for the second time; but I wanted to pick another book to list for a favorite I read in this genre this year.

Salt to the Sea is an historical fiction book in the YA genre. It’s another one that was unputdownable. This book is set in World War II time in East Prussia. It is the story of four very different people who are fleeing and trying to make it to the ship Wilhelm Gustloff. It is also the story of the sinking of this ship which is known as the greatest maritime disaster in history. This novel will pull you right in and keep you up all night reading. I can’t wait to read another novel by Ruta Sepetys. In fact, I have another novel of Sepetys listed in the new reading challenge.

And that wraps it up for this year! What were some of your favorite books you read this year?

What I’m Thinking About Reading for the 2018 Reading Challenge

I have been anxiously waiting for Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2018 Reading Challenge to come out. And it has! It’s taken me a little over a week to think about what I’d like to read for the challenge; but finally, I have some initial thoughts to share today.

I have participated in this particular reading challenge for the last two years and I feel like I’ve found my reading challenge home. 🙂 Anne’s 2016 Reading Challenge really fit the bill for me when I came across it. (I talk about that HERE.) I had tried to do a classics challenge the previous year and failed miserably. I read plenty that year…just not much that fit the classics challenge. Anne’s reading challenge made me feel like a reading challenge could actually be doable for me. And I’ve participated ever since. Thank you Anne!

I had contemplated also trying a classics challenge again (in addition to the Modern Mrs. Darcy challenge) by trying the 2018 Back to the Classics Challenge, but have decided not to. I do have a running list of classics I want to read though. And I plan to read at least one classic each month (maybe more…..) because I now have a small group of ladies that we are reading one classic each month and meeting once a month for book discussion…our own little Classics Book Club. 🙂 Plus, as you will see, I have some classics listed as options in some of the categories for this year’s Modern Mrs. Darcy’s challenge.

So, without further ado,  this is my initial thoughts for what I might read for some of the categories of the 2018 Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. These are just initial ideas and I may end up reading different titles along the way. 😉

You will notice that I am listing more than one title in many of the categories; these are options I’m looking at right now. Some categories I am actually planning to read all the options listed. I’ll explain those. 🙂

MMD 2018 Reading Challenge

A Classic You’ve Been Meaning To Read
*Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

I’ve been wanting to read this book for months now and just haven’t gotten around to it. January is the time to read this one!

A Book Recommended By Someone With Great Taste
To Be Determined
I will likely go with a recommendation from my best friend.

A Book In Translation
*Britt Marie Was Here OR My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
*The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I am planning to read both. I may also read both of the Backman books instead of just one. I really liked the two Backman books I’ve read so far which were  And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and A Man Called Ove.

A Book Nominated for An Award In 2018
To Be Determined

A Book Of Poetry, A Play, Or An Essay Collection
I love having this category because it encourages me to stick with reading at least one selection of poetry a year. I’m not a huge poetry person to be honest; so this is an area I’ve been trying to incorporate into my reading life more. Two years ago, I decided that I wanted to try to include at least one book of poetry in my reading for the year. This year, I want to expand my selections and read something for all three of these options.

*Poetry – Dream Work by Mary Oliver
OR an anthology of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poems that I have on my shelf
*Play – Our Town by Thornton Wilder
*Essay Collection – Essays of E. B. White by E. B. White

A Book You Can Read In A Day
*Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
*
The Marvels by Brian Selznick

I love The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. It was what I picked the last time there was this category. This time around I want to read one of these other Selznick books. Who knows…maybe I’ll read both!

A Book That’s More Than 500 Pages
*The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (~973 pgs.)
*I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb (~897 pgs.)
*Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (~976 pgs.)
*Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (~1168 pgs.)

In this category, my goal is to read a modern and a classic work. The first two are the modern options and the last two are the classic options that I’m looking at. I’ve heard great things about all of these books; and honestly, I’d really like to read them all. But for now, I’ll stick with picking one from each genre. 🙂

A Book By A Favorite Author
*Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
*Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

There’s only a few authors I can think of off the top of my head that I’ve read more than one of their works:  Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, and Lois Lowry. As much as I might appreciate the works of Austen and Dickens, I wouldn’t rank them up there among my favorite authors. Please, no one throw tomatoes at me! And I’ve never been a big fan of Shakespeare, though I found that I really enjoyed reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream this year. So maybe his works are growing on me. 😉 However, I absolutely LOVED every book I’ve read by Lois Lowry which would be all the books in The Giver series.

I have a number of books I’ve read in these last two years that I’d like to read more by those particular authors. So, for this category I’ve chosen two options for now. The first is another Lois Lowry book. The second option is by Ruta Sepetys. I read her book  Salt to the Sea this year and it was unputdownable. When I finished reading it, I knew I wanted to read another one of her books. So I’ve chosen Between Shades of Gray.

A Book Recommended By A Librarian Or An Indie Bookseller
To Be Determined

A Banned Book
*The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
*Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I wanted to choose one modern and one classic for this category. I hope to read both of these titles.

A Memoir, Biography, Or Book Of Creative Nonfiction
*As You WishInconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes and Joe Layden (Memoir)
*Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain (autobiography)
*Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction:  Work from 1970 to the Present by Lex Williford and Michael Martone (creative nonfiction)

This is a category where I really do want to read a selection for each option. So I’ve listed what I’ve chosen at this point for each one.

A Book By An Author Of  A Different Race, Ethnicity, Or Religion Than Your Own
*Beloved by Toni Morrison

I have been told by more than one person that this is a really good book.

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Are you participating in any reading challenges in 2018? I’d love to hear about it!

What I’ve Been Reading Lately ~ Dec. 2017

In the next week or so I will be sharing a wrap-up post of my reading for this year. But for now, I really need to do a What I’ve Been Reading Lately post since it’s been several months since I’ve posted one. But first, I have to share that I’m so excited to have found a couple of friends who wanted to join me in reading classics. So we’ve formed our own little Classics Club and began in November with reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I intentionally took longer to read this book than I normally would, spreading it out over about three weeks. It was the perfect read for me for November. It was a nice change of style and content after having just read The Trial by Kafka, A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens, and finishing Robinson Crusoe by Defoe.

Little Women

As I got ready to read Little Women, I didn’t know if we’d have lots of things to discuss at our book club night. But as I read, I found myself putting sticky notes throughout the chapters. It ended up being a highly discuss-able book and we actually ran out of time at our meeting and didn’t get through all the notes I’d written for discussion!

A Christmas Carol

For December, we chose to read the Christmas classic A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens but with no planned formal book club meeting since December can be quite a busy month for many.  This was a re-read for me but it has been years since I read it. I read it as a read-aloud with my daughter this time around and we just finished it a few days ago. My daughter loved it and I really enjoyed reading it a second time!

Now on to more of what I’ve been reading lately….

Here’s a look at the books I’ve read since my last What I’ve Been Reading Lately post. (Some of these I mentioned in a September post I wrote.)

Beowulf translated by John McNamara
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Trial by Franz Kafka
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson

I’ve managed to write up reviews of a couple of these books and they are linked in the list above. I do hope to at least get a couple more reviews written for some of the books listed above by the end of the year. We’ll see….

What have you been reading lately?