Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Thankful: The Bookish Edition

It's hard to be thankful this year. Every day we've seen shameful things---lies, corruption, cruelty, hatred---coming from our country's leaders. Every day we've seen people sick with this virus and dying while others brazenly go about their business, life as normal, ignoring the best advice available from medical personnel. I was shocked to see a person I call a friend write on FB: "I'm not canceling my Thanksgiving plans." 

It's enough to make us all deeply disheartened. Weary. Bleak, even.

I refuse to do that.

I'm going to continue to push on, to work for the good, to do what is right, stumbling as we all do from time to time, but getting right back up and being thankful for all we enjoy.

What bookish things am I thankful for this year?

(1) I got to attend the Edinburgh Book Festival and the National Book Festival for the first (and probably the last) time.
(2) I've read more books this year---currently 665 books---than I ever have before in my life.
(3) I've read some amazing books this year; I'll be revealing my favorites at the end of this year.
(4) I've discovered the delights of e-books when my library closed in March.
(5) I found it was an excellent idea to have an enormous TBR here at home when my library closed.
(6) My library reopened, offering curbside service.
(7) I began to purposefully buy books from independent bookstores rather than Amazon.
(8) I love the many Zoom author readings and talks.
(9) This year will soon be at an end, and I am thankful for that.
(10) I've relied on my blogging friends this year more than ever before for good book suggestions and general moral support. Thank you all so much!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up: 6 ✰✰✰✰ Reads, 9 Poems for a Tough Winter, and 3 Good Things


It's the week of Thanksgiving, and I have just returned from a very, very safe hiking trip in Arizona, and I feel hopeful about the world. While I was gone, the bad guy lost the election and a vaccine against the virus was found to be quite effective. Yes, the sad little man in the Oval Office has not conceded defeat. Yes, many foolish people are planning big Thanksgiving celebrations. Yes, cases of the virus are rising. Somehow, I'm still holding good things of the week close, and I'm keeping my mind on thankfulness.

Barn's burnt down---
I can see the moon.

I had six four-star reads last week. Because this is November, they were all nonfiction except for These is My Words, a fictional diary of the life of a pioneer in the Arizona Territories.  While we were hiking in Arizona, I also read Dreams of El Dorado: A History of the American West, a book filled with new-to-me stories of the early years of the western part of America. The Home Edit and The Home Edit Life were both filled with great ways to organize your home. Plotted: A Literary Atlas is a book of maps of classic literature. And, finally,  The Uncompromising Diary of Sallie McNeill, 1858-1867 is the actual diary of a woman who lived her whole life just down the road from me in the 1800s.

Our November book club read was All Creatures Great and Small. We also started watching the PBS series, first aired in 1978. All Creatures Great and Small is on a list of mood-boosting books, and I'm happy to say that it definitely is as advertised. 

Three posts last week:

Good Thing #1: We shall eat turkey and mashed potatoes and hot rolls and pecan pie this week.
Good Thing #2: We shall think about what we are grateful for this week.

"Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. 
 Meanwhile the world goes on."

I'm delighted you found your way to the Sunday Salon. Sunday Salon is a place for us to link up and to share what we have been doing during the week; it's a great way to visit other blogs and join in the conversations going on there. 

Some of the things we might talk about at the Sunday Salon:

  • What was your week like?
  • Read any good books? Tell us about them.
  • What other bookish things did you do? 
  • What else is going on in your life?

Other places where you may like to link up over the weekend are below. Click on the picture to visit the site.

My linkup for Sunday Salon is below.

Friday, November 20, 2020

The Classics Club: Spin the Wheel and Choose What You Will Read Next

 It's time for another Classics Club Spin!

But wait. What, you might ask, is the Classics Club?

From the blog:

  • Choose 50+ classics you would like to read.
  • List them at your blog.
  • Choose a reading completion goal date up to five years in the future and note that date on your classics list of 50+ titles.
  • E-mail the moderators of this blog (theclassicsclubblog@gmail.com) with your list link and information and it will be posted on the Members Page.
  • Write about each title on your list as you finish reading it, and link it to your main list.
  • When you’ve written about every single title, let the Club know, and your name will be posted on the Wall of Honor.
If you haven't done this, do this first. Then you can get going with your reading by joining in for our Classics Club Spin.

What is the Classics Club Spin? Again, from the blog:

  • Go to your blog.
  • Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List.
  • Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog before Sunday 22nd November.
  • We’ll announce a number from 1-20. 
  • Read that book by 30th January 2021.
Here's my list:

  1. Agnes Gray

  2. Where Angels Fear to Tread

  3. Elizabeth and Her German Garden

  4. End of the Affair

  5. Winter’s Tale, The

  6. Girl of the Limberlost, The

  7. Glimpses of the Moon, The

  8. Heat of the Day, The

  9. Main Street

  10. Man and Superman

  11. Mary Barton

  12. Mystery of the Yellow Room

  13. Of Human Bondage

  14. Pursuit of Love, The

  15. Razor's Edge, The

  16. Selected Stories of O. Henry

  17. Tom Brown's Schooldays

  18. Travels in Asia and Africa

  19. War and Peace

  20. Washington Square

What does your list look like? What are you hoping to read?

And...it's The Pursuit of Love! Excellent. It's said to be comedic, and I can check out a copy from the library.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Nonfiction November: New to My TBR

Week 4: (November 23-27)   Katie’s rounding things up with New to My TBR: It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have made it onto your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book! 


Q's Legacy by Helene Hanff, recommended by The Writerly Reader.

The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them by Elif Batuman, recommended by Lexlingua.

Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby-Dick by George Cotlin, recommended by The Writerly Reader.

The Details: On Love, Death, and Reading by Tegan Bennett Daylight, recommended by Books Are My Favourite and Best.

Dear Reader: The Comfort and Joy of Books by Cathy Rentzenbrink, recommended by Books Are My Favourite and Best.

Innocent Reader: Reflections on Reading and Writing by Debra Adelaide, recommended by Books Are My Favourite and Best.

The Reading Cure: How Books Restored My Appetite by Laura Freeman, recommended by Books Are My Favourite and Best.


Kitchen Yarns by Ann Hood, recommended by The Marmelade Gypsy

Let Them Eat Pancakes: One Man's Personal Revolution in the City of Light by Craig Carlson, recommended by Based on a True Story.

Coffeeland: One Man's Dark Empire and the Making of Our Favorite Drug by Augustine Sedgewick, recommended by Based on a True Story.


Mudlarking: Lost and Found on the River Thames by Laura Maiklem, recommended by The Marmelade Gypsy

140 Days to Hiroshima: Inside the Final War Room Clashes and the Countdown to Armageddon by David Dean Bennett, recommended by Julz Reads.

Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic, recommended by Julz Reads.

The World Beneath Their Feet: Mountaineering, Madness, and the Deadly Race to Summit the Himalayas by Scott Ellsworth, recommended by Julz Reads.

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen, recommended by Gofita's Pages and Introverted Reader.

Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge, recommended by The Paperback Princess.

A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara Tuchman, recommended by Brona's Books.

The Golden Antilles: The Search for a Promised Land by Tim Severin, recommended by The Bookworm Chronicles.

The Romanovs by Virginia Cowles, recommended by The Bookworm Chronicles.


Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe, recommended by Books Are My Favourite and Best and The Paperback Princess.

This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay, recommended by Books Are My Favourite and Best.

Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder, recommended by Books Are My Favourite and Best.

Heroes and Jerks: The Best and Worst Who Ever Lived by Ed Daly, recommended by Bookfever.

Dear Life: A Doctor's Story of Love and Loss by Rachel Clarke, recommended by Book'd Out and Booker Talk.

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka, recommended by Reading Ladies.

On the Horizon: World War II Reflections by Lois Lowry,  recommended by Lady in Read Writes.

Only Happiness Here: In Search of Elizabeth Von Arnim by Gabrielle Carey, recommended by Brona's Books.

Did I Say That Out Loud? Midlife Indignities and How to Survive Them by Kristin van Ogtrop, recommended by Book'd Out.


The Wild Remedy: How Nature Heals Us~A Diary by Emma Mitchell, recommended by The Marmelade Gypsy

Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer L. Wright, recommended by Introverted Reader.

Can You Hear Me? A Paramedic's Encounters with Life and Death by Jake Jones, recommended by Book'd Out.

Wintering: A Season With Geese by Stephen Rutt, recommended by Adventures in Reading, Running, and Working From Home.

Rewild Yourself by Simon Barnes, recommended by Adventures in Reading, Running, and Working From Home.

Honey and Venom: Confessions of an Urban Beekeeper, recommended by Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs.

100 Things to Do in the Forest by Jennifer Davis, recommended by Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs.

The Secret Life of the Owl by Jon Lewis-Stempel, recommended by Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs.

The Salt Path by Raynor Wynn, recommended by Reading Ladies.

That Wild Country: An Epic Journey Through the Past, Present, and Future of America's Public Lands by Mark Kenyon, recommended by Introverted Reader.

Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs, recommended by Brona's Books and Doing Dewey.

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World by Andrea Wulf, recommended by Brona's Books.

The Cloudspotter's Guide: The Science, History, and Culture of Clouds by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, recommended by Brona's Books.

The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn, recommended by Booker Talk.

Pleased to Meet Me: Genes, Germs, and the Curious Forces that Make Us Who We Are by Bill Sullivan, recommended by What's Nonfiction.

The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are by Libby Copeland, recommended by What's Nonfiction.

Superlative: The Biology of Extremes by Matthew LaPlante, recommended by What's Nonfiction.

The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee, recommended by What's Nonfiction.

She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity by Carl Zimmer, recommended by What's Nonfiction.

The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code by Sam Kean, recommended by What's Nonfiction.

Ask an Ocean Explorer: Everything You Need to Know About Our Oceans in 25 Questions by Dr. Jon Copley, recommended by Book'd Out.

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, recommended by Emerald City Reviews. 

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong, recommended by Emerald City Reviews. 

My Penguin Year: Living with the Emperors by Lindsay McCrae, recommended by Book'd Out.

The Aging Brain: Proven Steps to Prevent Dementia and Sharpen Your Mind by Timothy R. Jenkins, recommended by Library of Clean Reads.

Big World Small Planet: Abundance Within Planetary Boundaries by Johan Rockstrom and Mattias Klum, recommended by Unsolicited Feedback.


Learned Hopefulness: The Power of Positivity to Overcome Depression by Dan Tomasulo, recommended by Shelf Aware.

The Power of Small: Making Tiny But Powerful Changes When Everything Feels Too Much by Drs. Aisling Leonard-Curtin and Trish Leonard-Curtin, recommended by Shelf Aware.

I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know by W. Lee Warren, MD, recommended by Lisa Notes.

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen, recommended by Gofita's Pages.

Apollo's Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live by Nicholas A. Christakis, recommended by What's Nonfiction.

So You're a Little Sad, So What? Nice Things to Say to Yourself on Bad Days and Other Essays by Alicia Tobin, recommended by What's Nonfiction.

Here for It, Or How to Save Your Soul in America by R. Eric Thomas, recommended by What's Nonfiction and Doing Dewey.

Don't Overthink It by Anne Bogel, recommended by Reading Ladies.

Habits for Happiness: 10 Daily Steps for Living Your Happiest Life by Tim Sharp, recommended by Library of Clean Reads.

Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery, recommended by Doing Dewey.

The Long Life by Helen Small, recommended by Lexlingua.

Hack Your Anxiety by Alicia H. Clark, recommended by Lexlingua.

Social Issues

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum recommended by The Written, Spoken, and Visual Word.

We Demand The Right To Vote: The Journey to the 19th Amendment by Meneese Wall, recommended by Bookfever.

The Immoral Majority: Why Evangelicals Chose Political Power over Christian Values by Ben Howe, recommended by Based on a True Story.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colourblindness by Michelle Alexander, recommended by NancyElin.

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About People We Don't Know by Malcolm Gladwell, recommended by Book'd Out.

Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story of Women of the 1950s by Virginia Nicholson, recommended by The Paperback Princess.

This is Your Brain on Stereotypes: How Science is Tackling Unconscious Bias by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, recommended by Lady in Read Writes.

How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood by Peter Moskowitz, recommended by The Paperback Princess.


Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others by Barbara Brown Taylor, recommended by Lisa Notes.

Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation by Latasha Morrison, recommended by Reading Ladies.

The Dream of Reason: The History of Western Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance by Anthony Gottlieb, recommended by Gofita's Pages.

Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away by Rebecca Goldstein, recommended by Gofita's Pages.

Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith, recommended by Gofita's Pages.

Notes from an Apocalypse: A Personal Journey to the End of the World and Back by Mark O'Donnell, recommended by Annabookbel.


A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar, recommended by Brona's Books.


Rebel Without a Clause: Losing the Linguistic Plot by Sue Butler, recommended by Book'd Out.

Thinking Inside the Box: Adventures with Crosswords and the Puzzling People Who Can't Live Without Them by Adrienne Raphel, recommended by Book'd Out.


Bush School by Peter O'Brien, recommended by Book'd Out.

Levels of the Game by John McPhee, recommended by The Writerly Reader.

Doughnut Economics: 7 Ways to Think About a 21st Century Economist by Kate Raworth, recommended by Unsolicited Feedback.

More From Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources and What Happens Next by Andrew McAfee, recommended by Unsolicited Feedback.