Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Bookish Resolutions

I love making lists of books I want to read during the upcoming year. I love adding books to my TBR. I love thinking about posts I might write on my book blog. I love to reorganize my book stacks according to what I want to read first. I love to decide on book challenges for the year.

But book resolutions?

I hereby resolve to make no bookish resolutions.

That is...

I will read what I want.

I will read when I want.

I reserve the right to give up on a book at any point, even if I am on the very last page.

I will not feel compelled to read any book a publisher may send to me or a friend may give to me.

I will read at will.







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.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Classics Club: (Approximately) 68 Classic-ish Books I Will Read in the Next Five Years

Many thanks to Kay of Kay's Reading Life who nudged me toward The Classics Club this year.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love reading. But another, less obvious truth about me is that I love to plan, to make lists, to research my reading almost as much as I love to actually read.

How could I resist joining in this challenge? I'm in my final twenty years of reading on earth, I think, and it's time to devote myself to reading some of the best writing in these last years.

What is the Classics Club? From the blog:


  • choose 50+ classics
  • 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 us know.
I devoted a complete day to preparing the list. Because I am very much an overlapper (a self-created designation for a person who loves to do activities that check off as many lists at once as possible) I created most of this list from books I had already challenged myself to read, from the 1001 Children's Books You Must Read list and the 1001 Books You Must Read list, as well as from the various award-winning book lists I'm perpetually trying to read. Books marked in bold print are completed and have links to reviews.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Any Human Heart by William Boyd
Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald
Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Candide by Voltaire
Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes
Emma by Jane Austen
Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
Howards End by E. M. Forster
It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
Italian Folktales by Italo Calvino
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Mythology by Edith Hamilton
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne
Old Filth by Jane Gardam
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
One Thousand and One Arabian Nights
Passage to India by E. M. Forster
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Selected Essays by Michel de Montaigne
Selected Stories by O. Henry
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Black Corsair by Emilio Salgari
The Castle by Franz Kafka
The Doll's House by Rumer Godden
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan 
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
The Quiet American by Graham Greene
The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Trial by Franz Kafka
The Water-Babies by Charles L. Kingsley
The Wonderful "O" by James Thurber
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
White Fang by Jack London
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Are you a member of the Classics Club? What books do you want to read first? Are there any on this list that I should read soon? 




What are you reading today?



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.




Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Books I Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn't Get To

I do hereby vow to read the following books in 2018 or give them away. I have copies of all of these sitting under my bed.

I will read these in 2018.

The Night Circus


Appointment in Samarra


A Little Life


The Eight


Turtles All the Way Down


Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds


Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys





I will read these. What should I read first? Have you read any of these? 




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, January 7, 2018

2018: Wildly Imperfect

It's the start of a brand-new year. It's a chance to start fresh, to start anew, to try new things, a do-over.

In the past few weeks, I've been busy here on my blog, posting my list of favorite reads of 2017, my favorite children's picture books of 2017 and announcing our Cybils finalists, choosing my word for the year, and planning my reading for 2018.










I started out 2018 like I start every year; I finished ten books the first day. It's a technique (trick?) I use every year to kickstart my reading. I finish off the year's reading at the end of November and I start reading ten books that I can finish on the first day of the new year. Here's what I've finished in 2018 so far:





I committed to writing every day for ten minutes this year. No goals. No careful criticism of what I write. Just writing. Every day. Ten minutes. #WildlyImperfect.

And thank you, Helen of Helen's Book Blog, for sharing the calendar from Great Britain's Action for Happiness. I hope to follow the calendar in 2018.






What are you reading today?



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.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Martha Stewart's Slow Cooker

Martha Stewart admits she did not grow up with a slow cooker nor did she ever use a slow cooker until she decided to write this book. But she's a convert now.

The second cookbook I received (after, of course, the ubiquitous Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook) at my wedding shower was a crockpot recipe book. This was the 70's and I was determined to both work and cook well for my man. The crockpot cookbook was perfect for us. I'd start it up at seven before I left for work and, when we arrived home at five, we had a pot of amazing food.

So we (my man has learned to use the slow cooker, too, over the years) have continued to use this cookbook for the past forty years. I thought I knew everything about crockpots.

Then I read this book. 

Martha Stewart had the luxury of having a panel of editors and recipe developers create and test recipes that enhanced the strengths of a crockpot for more than a year. Martha shares a list of ten Slow Cooker Commandments, all new to me, and a list of tips for best using the crockpot (all new to me). These alone are worth the price of the book.

Then I tried out the recipes. My husband and I sticky-noted recipes that sounded good to us---Chili Chicken Tacos, Sausage and Vegetable Ciambotta, Brisket and Onions---and over a few weeks, we tested Martha's testers.

Our results? 

We've set our tattered and splattered forty-year-old crockpot standard in the pantry for now, and replaced it with Martha's shiny new book in our cookbook stand. 

Here's one of our (new) favorites:


Martha Stewart's Slow-Cooker Brisket and Onions

Ingredients 






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.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Top New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2017

Jason Reynolds...Oh my goodness, I am Jason Reynolds' newest, biggest fan. 
I loved Ghost. I will read Long Way Down soon. A great writer.

Karl Ove Knausgard...Autumn was amazing. I'm reading Winter now. Do I dare hope he is working on more seasons?

Sylvia Boorstein...This lady knows what makes people happy. I read It's Easier Than You Think and loved it, and then I picked up Happiness is an Inside Job. Wonderful.

Thi Bui...author and illustrator of the fabulous graphic novel The Best We Could Do. Then I read and loved her illustrations in A Different Pond.

Sarah Bakewell...At the Existential Cafe sold me on Bakewell. I will read How to Live this year, I hope.

Angie Thomas...The Hate U Give...first book...get to writing, Ms. Thomas.

George Saunders...I heard him speak and read the the Tenth of December and then brilliant Lincoln in the Bardo. I must see what else he has written.





How about you?
Have you read any of these?
What new authors did you discover this year?
I hope you'll share your favorites 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

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Best of the Best: My 50 Favorite Fiction Picture Books and Board Books of 2017

Seven highly-experienced children's book reviewers.

357 fiction picture books and board books published in the last year.

Two and a half months of reading and reviewing and discussing.






 Just for Fun

A pushy dinosaur-shaped cut-out cookie. Guinea pigs who all want glasses. Insect talk.



Friendships


A girl who is crazy about gorillas. Two sheep and an adventure. Bear and Mouse at Christmas. A boy who goes against the grain. A queen seeks a perfect cup of tea.


 Blue


Blue. And white. And all the other colors.


Imagination


Harry and Clare stay home but have the most amazing adventures.


Familiar Characters



Lots of great fractured fairy tales.



Little Stories

Small stories with eggs and cats and even a bear.



Multicultural

It's a big world, so let's see more than our own backyard.


War

War stories.

Scary Stuff

Will Jabari dive off the high board?
Will Jasper Rabbit face some scary underwear?



Adventure


Off on an antlered ship, on a bicycle, and on a trip across a salad.



Wordless


No words.



Wacky Word Play

A detective story. Another interactive Herve Tullet tale. What rhymes with orange? You never know where a mistake may take you.


Board Books




And lots and lots of wonderful new board books.



And, finally, we are delighted to announce
our 2017 Cybils Fiction Picture Book and Board Book Finalists:


FICTION PICTURE BOOK FINALISTS




After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) 
written and illustrated by Dan Santat 
(Roaring Brook Press)


The story of what happened to Humpty Dumpty sounds like a simple,
little kid story, but this Humpty Dumpty story? It’s so much more than
a cute children’s book. Kids of all age groups will be touched by the
emotional message.


Dan Santat is not subtle about telling and showing Humpty’s anxiety:
“I was so scared that it kept me from enjoying some of my favorite
things.” This straightforward approach allows us to easily relate to
Humpty’s feelings. The soft, detailed illustrations enhance the text
by adding touches of humor and by deepening Humpty’s worry and his
struggle. There are many important messages here about coping with
accidents, perseverance and not giving up, but also about waiting to
be ready for new challenges and how it can take slow steps to get past
fear. This is a book that can open the door to important discussions
but it can also quietly soothe and remind one child they are not
alone.


Andrea Mack
That's Another Story



Baabwaa and Wooliam 
written by David Elliott and illustrated by Melissa Sweet 
(Walker Books)



"This is Baabwaa, also a sheep. In this picture, Baabwaa is knitting. Knitting is a practical hobby for a sheep. It's surprising not more of them do it. Oh, well."


In this sheepishly-funny picture book story, best friends Wooliam and Baabwaa attempt to find adventure. Not long after, they encounter a wolf (quite like one Wooliam has read about). Readers will enjoy this hilarious duo as they attempt to discover just what adventure means and who it may include. Melissa Sweet's illustrations in water color, gouache, and mixed media entertain and add fun details as does the story's voice, which tends to state the obvious. It's a tale tale of friendship that children will love to hear, and adults will love to read, with elements that tie together nicely and lead to a satisfying ending,


Lynne Marie Pisano
My Word Playground



Escargot 
written by Dashka Slater and illustrated by Sydney Hanson 
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux)



Escargot is easily the most charming and earnest snail you have ever met. At times seeming confident ("You may kiss me if you want!"), it becomes clear that he finds himself in a position recognizable to children and adults alike: he wants very much to be someone's friend (yours!), but he is afraid you are not as interested in friendship as he is.


The text begs to be read aloud, and invitations to readers to stroke Escargot's shell or to make a fierce face make it a wonderfully interactive story time read. The large, bright illustrations are every bit as charming as the text. This one is begging to be read over and over again.


Ami Jones
A Mom's Spare Time



Flowers for Sarajevo 
written by John McCutcheon and illustrated by Kristy Caldwell 
(Peachtree)



Flowers for Sarajevo, written by John McCutcheon and illustrated by Kristy Caldwell is one for our older picture book readers. The events in this book took place over two decades ago, but in a world where acts of war and terror take place regularly, this story gives children a chance to explore and process these troubling ideas, emotions, and actions. In the pages following the mortar blast, when the square goes silent from lack of activity, the audience you might be reading aloud to will also go silent. There is a depth of sadness and seriousness that warrants it. The cellist, Vedrun Smailovic, enters the story as a figure of bravery and peace, which softens the ending of the story, though does not erase the seriousness. The CD accompanying the book is powerful to play. Listeners will be transported to the square as Vedrun Smailovic himself plays the song he played those many years ago.


Nicole Levesque
Bluestocking Thinking


Creepy Pair of Underwear! 
written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown 
(Simon & Schuster)




"...the underwear glowed.
A ghoulish, greenish glow.”


This book bursts with kid appeal.  What kid doesn't love underwear or glowing in the dark? Jasper Rabbit is an endearing character who overcomes his fear all on his own.  Engaging and emotive illustrations utilize a limited color palette to enhance the clever writing and compelling story.  Hilarious and heartfelt, the story will resonate with readers of all ages.  


Kirstine Call
ReFoReMo

Book of Mistakes 
written and illustrated by Corinna Luyken 
(Dial Books)



In the Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken readers are dazzled and watch in amazement as Luyken turns mistakes into something beautiful. The progression of the story feels like a magic trick. Humor and elegance promote courage and flexibility over fear in making mistakes. Readers of all ages will be delighted and awed by the twists and turns of Luyken's illuminating artwork. Inspiring, surreal, playful, and gorgeous, this book puts mistakes into a life-affirming perspective.  


Tiffa Foster
The Picture Book Review



Big Cat, Little Cat 
written and illustrated by Elisha Cooper 
(Roaring Brook Press)



“There was a cat
Who lived alone.
Until the day
a new cat came.”


Simple text, yes, with simple illustrations, yes, but don’t let the simplicity deceive you: this is a story of great depth and intensity. With the feel of a haiku and Japanese ink painting, Big Cat, Little Cat is a meditation on an endearing relationship that develops between opposites, big and little, black and white, and grows deeper and deeper, romping in work and play, until the inevitable end and the sadness that ensues. The author/illustrator doesn’t abandon us here, however, but nudges us forward with the reassurance of a new cycle of love and life beginning. Like all classic stories, Big Cat, Little Cat stirs readers of all ages to smiles, to laughter, to tears, to joy once again.


Deb Nance
Readerbuzz



BOARD BOOK FINALISTS


Circle, Triangle, Elephant: A Book of Shapes and Surprises 
written by Kenji Oikawa and illustrated by Mayuko Takeuc 
(Phaidon)




"triangle
circle
square


circle
rectangle
triangle


triangle
elephant?!
circle"


This hilarious shape book approaches shapes in a fresh, unique way. Surprises throughout break up the pattern of shapes and provoke laughter because they are so unexpected. The book helps babies and toddlers recognize shapes and colors, and also notice what doesn't belong. Simple, bright and cheerful illustrations only enhance the kid-like text. This is a fantastic read-aloud that will be read and re-read!


Kirstine Call
ReFoReMo



Hair 
written and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli 
(Candlewick)



Hair, by Leslie Patricelli, is one that you will be asked to read again and again, and you won't mind! Patricelli's bold illustration style brings to life a simply drawn baby in need of a haircut. Literally, one haircut. As the baby takes us through the emotions and steps of getting that first haircut, you won't be able to resist laughing. That single curly hair grows to hilarious lengths! Toddlers on the verge of a first haircut will be given a chance to rehearse the process, and toddlers that have experienced getting a haircut in a salon will enjoy the connection as they point out all the things they did just like the baby in the book.


Nicole Levesque
Bluestocking Thinking



One Happy Tiger 
written and illustrated by Catherine Rayner 
(Tiger Tales)



One Happy Tiger is, indeed, one happy tiger. Readers can't help but smile back at his quietly pleased expression as he explores the jungle, taking time to notice the smaller creatures along the way. Not simply a counting book, this pretty little board book explores adjectives such as thoughtful, watchful and curious as well. Illustrations are simple enough to catch a baby's eye - the bold tiger on a pastel background - yet make a pleasant change for parents from the usual cartoony board book illustrations. One that we think parents and libraries will be happy to keep on their shelves for years to come!


Ami Jones
A Mom's Spare Time



When Your Lion Needs a Bath 
written by Susanna Leonard Hill and illustrated by Daniel Wiseman 
(Little Simon)



Exploring the funny things that might result when your lion needs a bath, this 26-page board book is sure entertain little ones and older ones as well. While dealing with a simple and intriguing concept of dealing with your pet lion, it also reads like a picture book. In addition to its engaging antics, it offers delightful illustrations and most importantly, a fun read for all (no matter what age they may be).


Lynne Marie Pisano
My Word Playground



Changing Faces: Meet Happy Bear 
written by Nathan Thoms and illustrated by Carles Ballesteros 
(Harry N Abrams)



Meet Happy Bear by Carles Ballesteros enthralls young ones as they watch the panels slide and see Happy Bear's expressions change. The interactive participation to make the bear happy again is a roller coaster ride of emotions, but is ultimately satisfying. The adorable expressions on Happy Bear, the sense of empowerment by being able to make the bear smile, and finding what Happy Bear really needs makes for a delightful and exciting read for young readers.


Tiffa Foster
The Picture Book Review



Peek-a-Moo 
written and illustrated by Nina Laden 
(Chronicle Books)



With all the fun of the classic game of peek-a-boo, Peek-A-Moo takes
babies to the farm. The brightly colored illustrations complement the
creative rhymes and the small size of this book is just right for
little hands. Small windows cut into the pages allow babies and
toddlers to predict what’s coming next. This is a book little ones
will want to read themselves, again and again.


Andrea Mack
That's Another Story



Bears are Big 
written by Douglas Florian and illustrated by Barbara Bakos 
(little bee books)



What happens when an award-winning poet writes a board book? Douglas Florian, as in his poems for older readers, calibrates each word in this small book for our youngest of readers. On the surface, the story is a common one for board books, a story of animal opposites, but while the words admit differences, paradoxically the illustrator perspicaciously hints at the ways the animals share the world contentedly.. Bears Are Big is a delight with brilliant bursts of color on every page, lovely clever and surprising text, and a gentle message of peaceful coexistence.


Deb Nance
Readerbuzz