Wednesday, August 16, 2017

NYC at 10 PM: It's True that New York Never Sleeps

Photo taken in June of 2017 from my hotel during BookExpo.



For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy ReadsTo participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at West Metro Mommy Reads.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Can Books Improve Your Happiness?

I'm obsessed with happiness. I've been reading books about happiness for more than ten years. 

I know quite a bit about happiness. I know that about 50% of happiness is inherited, leaving another 50% that we can work to improve. I know the most important things about happiness that we can try to control are finding a sense of purpose, daily physical movement, daily social contact, feeling gratitude, practicing positive thoughts, and being present in the moment.

I've posted several times in the past about happiness. Here are some of my favorites:
          Happiness Books* (*I know, I know, I just did a post on happiness books.)
          Books That Would Be on My Syllabus If I Taught Happiness 101
          Be-Happy Books (Fiction that promotes happiness)
          Reading. Happily. (The Myths of Happiness)
          Best Books on Happiness
          How Happy Are You? Would You Like to Be as Happy as Pollyanna?
          And the Pursuit of Happiness (Maira Kalman book)

Can reading books improve your happiness? Biblio-therapists (yes, there are such folks) say yes. I recently read an article in Good Housekeeping, "60 Books That Make You Happier." It's a list of books that can make you happier, compiled from biblio-therapists. It reminded me of The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies, a book I read a few years ago. 

I decided to take a look at books recommended by biblio-therapists and then share some books biblio-therapists recommend that resonated with me.


Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
ZAMM is the book that brought me down off the ledge. Pirsig, too, was up there, at one point in his life, and it was through his study of motorcycles and zen that brought him back to living in the present moment rather than in his head. I've read this book more times than any other book. Here is one long quote I really like:

"Peace of mind isn't at all superficial to technical work. It's the whole thing. That which produces it is good work and that which destroys it is bad work. The specs, the measuring instruments, the quality control, the final check-out, these are all means toward the end of satisfying the peace of mind of those responsible for the work. What really counts in the end is their peace of mind, nothing else. The reason for this is that peace of mind is a prerequisite for a perception of that Quality which is beyond romantic Quality and classic Quality and which unites the two, and which must accompany the work as it proceeds. The way to see what looks good and understand the reasons it looks good, and to be at one with this goodness as the work proceeds, is to cultivate an inner quietness, a peace of mind so that goodness can shine through."


Zen and Zen Classics by R. H. Blyth
I bought this book way back in the 90's when I accidentally joined the best book club I've ever belonged to, the Quality Paperback Book Club. Blyth is one of the few people who is able to write about zen in a zennish way. 

"Man is the eye with which the universe sees itself, and it is free to spit in its own eye if it so desires."


Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
How many times did I read over this Teddy Roosevelt quote Brown uses in her book when I was struggling? "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."


When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron 
There's something so calming about Pema Chodron's writings. 


Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
Lamott shares the troubles of her life, and, oddly, always makes me laugh.


The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
One of my favorite stories. I love how the fox sees things:

“I am looking for friends. What does that mean -- tame?"

"It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. "It means to establish ties." 

"To establish ties?" 

"Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world....” 

And if all else fails, try this one....


Better Than Chocolate: 50 Proven Ways to Feel Happier
This is an itsy-bitsy illustrated book with fifty ideas, all with science behind them, to feel a little happier. 

These are my go-to books when I am down. What are yours? Please share them with me.



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!










Sunday, August 13, 2017

The 2017 Cybils Are Coming! And Other Book-ish News....



It's that wonderful time again! The 2017 Cybils Awards, the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards, are coming soon. Please watch http://cybils.com for the call for judges in the next few days. 

I am serving as panel chair for Fiction Picture Books and Board Books again this year, and I'm especially interested in finding 5-7 bloggers to serve as panelists (first round) and judges (second round) who love fiction picture books and board books. 

In October, it will be time to nominate your favorite children's and young adult books for the Cybils. It's not too early to start looking over the books you have read which were published in the last ten months or so and begin to write down the names of the books you'd like to nominate. 

I get geeky about the Cybils nominations and love to set my alarm for the middle of the night when nominations begin so that I can be sure to get my favorites on the list. I've been involved with the Cybils for ten years now, and I'm happy to say that I've nominated eleven books that have been finalists or winners in the Cybils.

Do you have questions about the Cybils? Here are Frequently Asked Questions

From the Cybils blog:

The 2017 Cybils Are Coming……

SOON. 
We’ve been busy behind the scenes dusting off the logos, lining up the panel chairs, and generally getting things in place for the 2017 Cybils season. Watch this space… the call for judges is coming and we would LOVE to have your help choosing the best, most kid-friendly books this year! 


BOOKS ARRIVING IN THE MAIL



A fabulous mailbox this week.

I received an email from Books on Tape early on that I'd won an audiobook prize package from BookExpo! Woo hoo! I was allowed to choose adult or children's audiobooks and I went for children's, and yesterday, boom! they arrived. Super excited about these five audiobooks: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen; Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm; The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas; Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts by Susan Cain; and Their Fractured Light: A Starbound Novel by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.

I also received the fun new children's book, Roger is Going Fishing from Eerdman's and The Physics of Everyday Things. Wow! Great mailbox!

BOOKS READ

I finished off a bunch of books last week:





School starts for children on Thursday so there will be no more reading binges for a while. Well, except for readalouds at school...I am a school librarian, after all!



What are you up to this week? Any good books I should be rooting around for? Please share in the comments!






What is the Sunday SalonImagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them,and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....That's what happens at the Sunday Salon, except it's all virtual. Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon get together--at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones--and read. And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs. Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book. Click here to join the Salon.

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news and recap the past week.

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share books that we found in our mailboxes last week. 
 It is now being hosted here.

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews in which you can share the books you've acquired.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between!  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from! I love being a part of this and I hope you do too! It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is now being hosted at The Book Date.
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Thursday, August 10, 2017

What? A Book of French Christmas Stories? In August?



Ridiculous. I'm sure it seems ridiculous. I've just read A Very French Christmas: The Greatest French Holiday Stories of All Time. I'm not in France. And it most certainly isn't December.

What's going on?

There are some people who always send you to the good books. Emma, of the blog, Words and Peace, and the organizer of France Book Tours, always sends me to the good books. I just couldn't resist a book of French Christmas stories. Even in August.

So why should you hear about A Very French Christmas? You, especially you, who are not a fan of  stories about France or (even) Christmas?

That's easy to answer. A Very French Christmas is really about France or Christmas. Yes, there's a definite French-ish feel to the stories, and all of them have a little dash of Christmas in them. But these aren't baked-potato-loaded-with-French-Christmas-fixings stories. No one really likes those sorts of stories, do they? These are not French stories. These are not Christmas stories. They are just good stories.


(Spoiler alert)
The first story in the book, for example, is a story of a man who really doesn't like Christmas. It's his wife who likes it, his wife who makes him get together with the family every year, to celebrate with food he doesn't care for and gifts he doesn't want. And he does so every year, even after his wife is long passed away. Until the Christmas comes where his wife gives him one last Christmas gift, a gift he is very happy about.


Yes, these are good stories. More than that, they are remarkably good stories. So good that I think I'll go back and read them again.

Would you like your own copy of this book? A Very French Christmas won't be published until October, but you can throw your name in the hat below and you may win a free copy now.


SYNOPSIS
A continuation of the very popular Very Christmas Series from New Vessel Press, this collection brings together the best French Christmas stories of all time in an elegant and vibrant collection featuring classics by Guy de Maupassant and Alphonse Daudet, plus stories by the esteemed twentieth century author Irène Némirovsky and contemporary writers Dominique Fabre and Jean-Philippe Blondel. With a holiday spirit conveyed through sparkling Paris streets, opulent feasts, wandering orphans, kindly monks, homesick soldiers, oysters, crayfish, ham, bonbons, flickering desire, and more than a little wine, this collection encapsulates the holiday spirit and proves that the French have mastered Christmas. This is Christmas à la française—delicious, intense and unexpected, proving that nobody does Christmas like the French.

THE AUTHORS

Alphonse Daudet, Guy de Maupassant, Anatole France, Irène Némirovsky, Jean-Philippe Blondel, Dominique Fabre, Paul Arene, Francois Coppee, Antoine Gustave Droz, Anatole La Braz


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Buy the book: on Amazon



VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE

Tuesday, August 8
Review + Giveaway at The Fictional 100
Review + Giveaway at Reading for the Stars and Moon
Wednesday, August 9
Review + Giveaway at The French Village Diaries
Thursday, August 10Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Review + Giveaway at Readerbuzz
Friday, August 11
Review + Giveaway at Reading To Unwind
Review + Giveaway at Words And Peace
Monday, August 14
Review + Giveaway at Books Are Cool
Review + Giveaway at Locks, Hooks and Books


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Peek into a New York Garden



For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy ReadsTo participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at West Metro Mommy Reads.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Road Trip: An Audiobook Marathon

AUDIOBOOK MARATHON

I've just returned from a whirlwind eight-day road trip to Chicago and back.


What with side trips to a geode hunting site and a bed-and-breakfast along the Mississippi and a visit with our wonderful son and daughter-in-law in Chicago, that's over 2,500 miles of driving.

How do you keep entertained when you are putting in over 36 hours in the car?

Audiobooks, of course.

For our trip, I brought along five of the 1001 Children's Books You Must Read audiobooks:

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (4 hrs. 56 min.)
Nothing happens to Taran, the Assistant Pig-Keeper, until his pig runs away. In his search, Taran meets the talkative Eilonwy, funny Gurgi, and heroic Prince Gwydion. It's a fun adventure, with great characters and lots of action.
My husband's rating: 🌟🌟🌟
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey (7 hrs. 15 min.)
Menolly is a gifted musician but because she is a girl, she can never be the harpist of her hold. She runs away and, taking refuge during a thread fall, encounters fire lizards. Gradually, she finds her place in Pern. Dragons...music...quest...it's a wonderful tale.
My husband's rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟


The Pigman by Paul Zindel (4 hrs. 35 min.)
Mr. Pignati is old and alone. John and Lorraine prank call Mr. Pignati which leads, very gradually, to a friendship between the two teens and the old man. It's a moving story of a friendship between people of widely different ages as well as the consequences of being irresponsible and careless.
My husband's rating: 🌟🌟🌟
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Chronicles of Ancient Darkness: Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver (6 hrs. 26 min.)
Tourak and his wolf set out on a quest to take on a terrible bear. Wolf Brother is an exciting story of action and adventure, along with a bit of magic.
My husband's rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (13 hrs. 31 min.)
Nathaniel is an apprentice to a magician. When Simon Lovelace scorns Nathaniel, the boy decides to take action. He calls a genie and bids him to steal Lovelace's prized Amulet of Samarkand. All kinds of funny. Love this genie.
My husband's rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I've never been a big audiobook person, but now that I've listened to these five audiobooks, I think I am one now. I'd love to hear your recommendations for other good audiobooks.


MAILBOX

My mailbox was full when I returned. Here's what was inside:


When a Wolf is Hungry from Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
The Dire King and Ghostly Echoes from Algonquin Young Readers
Karma Khullar's Mustache from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers


Let's see what I can get read before our school teacher inservices start on Monday and children arrive on the 17th.



What are you reading today? 
If you have recommendations for good audiobooks, I hope you'll share them in the comments.



What is the Sunday SalonImagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them,and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....That's what happens at the Sunday Salon, except it's all virtual. Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon get together--at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones--and read. And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs. Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book. Click here to join the Salon.

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news and recap the past week.

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share books that we found in our mailboxes last week. 
 It is now being hosted here.

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews in which you can share the books you've acquired.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between!  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from! I love being a part of this and I hope you do too! It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is now being hosted at The Book Date.



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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Iconic Paris: Tiny Cars

For this Texan, there is something odd about this picture, taken in Paris in 2010.
Do you know what it is?

Right. There's no traffic.

And when you do see a car, it's not an iconic Texas vehicle 
like a honker double-cab Dodge Ram truck. 
No. It's a tiny car.

Tiny. So small and cute, you almost want to pet it.

Nothing but tiny cars in Paris.




Saturday Snapshot is now hosted by West Metro Mommy ReadsTo participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

Please join the weekly meme at An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

Il est Juillet et il est temps pour le merveilleux Paris in July hosted by Thyme for Tea! (*It is July and it is time for the wonderful Paris in July!)