Saturday, April 28, 2018

The 24-Hour Read-a-Thon: Leggiamo Alcuni Libri! (Let's Read Some Books!)

Another readathon for the books. I had so much fun, reading, visiting blogs, and doing mini-challenges. So. Much. Fun.

And I won a Mini-Challenge! Woo hoo! It was serendipitous, because the challenge asked me to randomly shuffle through my music and Smile by Jimmy Durante came up. Crazy because the first book I read was 1,033 Reasons to Smile. I'll be receiving a copy of Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Thank you, Leah and 26 Letters!

HOURS 24

I woke up in time to enjoy some yogurt and a banana and a cup of coffee and to see readathon winding down. I'll do some reviews and sum up the wonderful day that is readathon, I think.

Closing Survey!

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
As is usual for me, the hours after nine pm are daunting. So daunting that I had to cave.
2. Tell us ALLLLL the books you read!
1,033 Reasons to Smile by Elizabeth Dutton (160 pages)
Roland the Minstrel Pig by William Steig (32 pages)
Ed Emberly's Drawing Book by Ed Emberley (32 pages)
A to Z by Sandra Boynton (16 pages)
Dave's Down-to-Earth Rock Shop by Stuart J. Murphy (32 pages)
Amazing Bone by William Steig (32 pages)
Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis (32 pages)
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (64 pages)
One Happy Tiger by Catherine Rayner (20 pages)
Napping House by Audrey Wood (32 pages)
The Wanderer's Guide to Lucca by Brian R. Lindquist (369 pages)
The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy edited by John Brehm (179 pages)
Italy for the Gourmet Traveler by Fred Plotkin (723 pages)
The Castle by Franz Kafka (audiobook; 318 pages)

3. Which books would you recommend to other Read-a-thoners?
1,033 Reasons to Smile was perfect. As were the travel books, children's books, poetry books, and audiobooks.
I'm a Readathon Expert.
4. What’s a really rad thing we could do during the next Read-a-thon that would make you smile?
It was so much fun to have the Mini-Challenges open all 24-hours. I did them all.
I loved trying to read a cumulative 1,000,000 pages. 
5. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Would you be interested in volunteering to help organize and prep?
I will participate. To my death.



HOURS 16-23

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

HOUR 15

For the in-between times, I had The Castle on audiobook. I finished it before I fell asleep, so let's add in another 318 pages.

HOUR 14

Another book finished. It's The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy. That makes thirteen books, with a total of 1,454 pages.

HOUR 13

Another Mini-Challenge, Bookish Playlist, is complete. That's my ninth. The challenge was to randomly select a song from one's playlist and pair it with a book. Smile by Jimmy Durante was my random song, and, good grief, guess what my first read was during the readathon? Yep, it was 1,033 Reasons to Smile. Crazy.

And yet another, Readathon Stop Drop and Post, is complete.


Readathon Workout is posted. I chose Yoga for Book Lovers.

And finally, for the win, the twelfth and last Mini-Challenge, Vague Recollections. Any librarian knows this one. You post some vague thoughts about the book you are currently reading and see if anyone can figure it out. Fun.




HOUR 12

I've finished another book, The Wanderer's Guide to Lucca. It adds another 369 pages to my total so far.

It's the midpoint and it's time for another survey.

Mid-Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now? The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy
2. How many books have you read so far? 12
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? This one.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I forgot to wake up early. I forged on.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? It surprises me how many books I've read.
And my eighth Mini-Challenge, Perfect Pairings, is completed.

And my ninth Mini-Challenge, #CoverFromMemory:


What do you think? Pretty close?


HOUR 10

I've finished my sixth and seventh Mini-Challenges, the Pen Pal Mini-Challenge and Bookish Scribbles.


I chose one of my favorite characters, Anne of Green Gables, as my pen pal. Wouldn't she be delightful? Such a wild imagination and so positive.

Here's my bookish scribble for my current read, 1001 Photographs You Must See in Your Lifetime. #readathonscribbles








HOUR 9

My fifth Mini-Challenge, Reading Alphabet, led me to read nine books this hour. Wow!

I chose children's books, so I'd have time to read front to back, the requirement of the challenge. Fortunately, I have a huge collection of children's books.

Roland the Minstrel Pig by William Steig
Ed Emberly's Drawing Book by Ed Emberley
A to Z by Sandra Boynton
Dave's Down-to-Earth Rock Shop by Stuart J. Murphy
Amazing Bone by William Steig
Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
One Happy Tiger by Catherine Rayner
Napping House by Audrey Wood




HOUR 8

My fourth Mini-Challenge is Artful Covers, in which we are asked to create a new cover for our current read. Here is mine:

I'm currently reading Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi. It's about Levi's time as a political prisoner in the poor southern part of Italy. This is a copyright-free photo of the area in which Levi stayed.




HOUR 7

Another book complete. God Save Texas by Lawrence Wright. Wonderful read. Texas, I never knew ya.

My third Mini-Challenge: Tell Me a Story. Some of my favorite reads have been short story collections, including all of Bradbury and Dubliners. #tellmeastory




HOUR 6

Oh my! I had to share this. How have I missed this?



I've finished Mini-Challenge 2: Anthology of Interest.

I'm almost finished with God Save Texas.

Onward and upward.

HOUR 5

I've finished my first book. It's 1,033 Reasons to Smile, and it comes in at 160 pages. Smile.

HOUR 4

I am set to do some Mini-Challenges (love the idea of having them open all day, btw) and some visiting of blogs (I'm aiming at five every hour), and, of course, reading.

Here's my first Mini-Challenge: A Book and a Snack#RATbooksnack.


HOUR 2

I just woke up, so I'm off to a late start, but oh well! If there is anything I have learned in my sixty-one years on this planet it is that we do the best we can, but we don't beat ourselves up...there are plenty of other people out there who will happily do that for us.

So, it's all good. I'm ready to jump in and read all the hours I can today. Let me start by playing catch up.

Pre-Event Survey

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I'm here in Alvin, Texas in the USA.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I'm reading Italy today in prep for our trip there in three weeks. I have about fifteen books set in Italy ready, and I have two audiobooks in case I need a break.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
I bought healthy snacks, including bananas, grapes, strawberries, yogurt, and lots of water and coffee. My husband also oh-so-sweetly gave me a bag of Hershey's Kisses. Just in case.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I'm a school librarian (at least for three more weeks, until I retire). My husband and I will celebrate our 40th anniversary in Italy. We have two grown sons, both married to wonderful wives, and one beautiful granddaughter.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? 
I decided not to take on any extra roles this time, and just enjoy reading and blogging.
Let's see. 
Dressed in book shirt and pencil leggings? Check. 

Stack of books ready? Check.

Snacks? Check.

I think it's time to jump in. Readathon time.


How about you? Did you readathon-ize this time? Did you enjoy it? If you didn't get to participate, I'm sad for you. But there is always next October.



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, April 25, 2018

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking: Basic Pizza



I'm cooking my to Italy this year, and I couldn't help coming back again and again to this classic, this essential Italian cookbook by Marcella Hazan. Of course, I had to try her recipe for pizza. 

I've been making homemade pizza crust for over thirty years, and I've always felt like I had a great deal of success with my go-to recipe. But let's try Hazan, shall we?



Basic Pizza Dough

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
3 1/4 cups flour
Extra virgin olive oil, about 4 tsp.
1/2 T. salt
Cornmeal

1. Dissolve the yeast completely in a large bowl by stirring it into 1/4 cup lukewarm water. When dissolved, in 10 minutes or less, add 1 cup flour. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. As you continue to stir, gradually add 3 tsp. olive oil, 1/2 T. salt, 1/4 c. lukewarm water, and 1 c. more flour. When adding flour and water for the last time, hold back some of both and add only as much as you need to make the dough soft, but not too sticky.

2. Slap the dough down very hard against the work counter several times until it is stretched out to a length of about 10 inches. Reach for the far end of the dough, fold it a short distance toward you, push it away with the heel of your palm, flexing your wrist, fold it, and push it away again, gradually rolling it up and bringing it close to you. Rotate the dough a one-quarter turn, pick it up and slap it down hard, repeating the entire previous operation. Give it another one-quarter turn in the same direction and repeat the procedure for about 10 minutes. Pat the kneaded dough into a round shape. 

3. Line a bowl with 1 tsp. olive oil, put in the dough, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm corner until the dough has doubled in size, about 3 hours.

4. At least 30 minutes before you are ready to bake, put the stone in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

5. Sprinkle the baker's peel with cornmeal. Divide the risen dough in half. Roll out the dough into a thick disk. Stretch the dough by twirling it on both of your upraised fists, bouncing it from time to time into the air to turn it. When it is the desired shape, put the circle of dough on the peel.

6. Put the topping of your choice on the dough. Jerk the peel away sharply, onto the preheated stone. Bake for 20 minutes until the dough becomes a light golden brown. As soon as it is done, drizzle lightly with olive oil. 



Epicurious did a wonderful post on 16 Things Marcella Hazan Taught Us About Cooking.





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, April 24, 2018

The Most Common Words in the Titles of the Last 500 Books I've Read



How did I do it? I copied a list of the titles of the last 500 books I’ve read from Goodreads and pasted them into a word cloud generator, like Wordle.


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, April 22, 2018

National Bookmobile Week, Yoga for Book Lovers, and Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-thon

I had a turbulent week last week, with a mandatory new financial system training at work, wrapping up the book fair, a Dance Party in the library during Fun Day/Field Day at school, getting my stitches in my thumb out, and worrying over my ninety-one year old dad having a pacemaker installed.

But all went well. Friday was an odd no-holiday holiday day-off from work, so I got some time to rest and relax and read.

NATIONAL BOOKMOBILE WEEK

Last week was both National Library Week and National Bookmobile Week. Do you remember bookmobiles from your childhood? I got my first library books from the bookmobile that came to our little town when I was a little girl.



We have a book bus that travels throughout our school district during the summer. It's the Alvin ISD Book Bus. It's a great opportunity for children who live in the far reaches of our district to be able to continue to check out books over the summer months.

Curious about bookmobiles? Here are some stats about them.


TALK TO BOOKS

Have you heard about the new Google search? You can ask a question and Google will search its database of books for answers. It is quite fun. Take a look at Talk to Books.


BALDWIN LIBRARY OF HISTORICAL CHILDREN'S LITERATURE

I spent some time last week exploring the University of Florida's Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature. It's a collection of 130,000 children's books published in the US and Great Britain between the mid-1600's and the present day. I wonder why many children's books from the past are sanctimonious. I don't think I'd have found reading so enchanting had I grown up in the 1800's.


YOGA FOR BOOK LOVERS

One of my friends, local author Glenn Starkey, shared this with me last week. Anybody else a yoga person? I may try this during Readathon next weekend.



DEWEY'S 24-HOUR READATHON

One of my favorite events of the year will be next weekend. Can you read for twenty-four hours straight? I can't, but I still have a lot of fun trying. Have you signed up? Sign up today here.




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, April 18, 2018

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking: Crespelle



Marcella Hazan is a revered name in Italian cooking. She's the real deal, and this book is a combination of her two books on authentic Italian cooking, Classic Italian Cooking and More Classic Italian Cooking, into one. One blogger spent a year cooking recipes from her book with her online group. Hazan focused on cooking simply, and what cook doesn't like simplicity?

Crespelle
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • butter for crepe pan

  1. Add flour gradually to milk. Strain through a sieve to avoid lumps. Evenly blend.
  2. Add eggs one at a time, beating them rapidly with a fork. Add salt.
  3. Butter the crepe pan. Use medium low heat.
  4. Pour 2 T. of the batter into the pan. Tilt and rotate the pan to distribute the batter evenly.
  5. As soon as the batter sets and becomes speckled brown, slip a spatula underneath and flip it to the other side. Stack the finished crespelle on a plate.

Hazan tells us that Italians stuff crespelle with meat, cheese, or vegetable fillings. 

Maybe I'll try that next time.








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, April 17, 2018

Philosophy(ish) Books (Gulp!) You Haven't Read But Mustn't Miss

Philosophy doesn't sound very interesting to you? You've never taken a class, then, or maybe you had an awful teacher.

The best class I ever took was in philosophy. We read and thought and discussed, read and thought and discussed, and read and thought and discussed until we found that pattern, reading-thinking-discussing, carried over into our everyday lives. It's a good way to live.

Here are some philosophy(ish) books you might like. 



At the Existentialist Cafe




After the Ecstasy, the Laundry




How to Live Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer




My Name is Asher Lev




Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance




Lila




How to Be Perfect (poetry that's philosophical)




Zen and the Zen Classics




Antifragile




Montaigne in Barn Boots




Walden




The Sufi Book of Life: 99 Pathways of the Heart for the Modern Dervish




Zen Camera




Maybe you also have some titles to share with me. I'd love to hear your recommendations.







Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Texas Library Association Conference: Where Do All the Books Go?


I left you last with this photo of a jumble of books I brought home from TLA. If you recall, my final day, sadly, was spent at the ER with a dislocated thumb from a fall I experienced on the way back to my hotel. I came home with $110 in cash I'd planned to spend the last day (where lots of publishers sell off their books at cut-rate, cash-only prices instead of paying to ship them home), buying books for my district's Book Bus, but that money, again sadly, will be used to pay my deductible for the very wonderful staff at Baylor University Hospital who sewed up and splinted my thumb.

Nevertheless, I came home with these totals: 
Day 1 (Exhibit Hall Opening Night): 49 books
Day 2: 97 books
Day 3 84 books
Grand total: 230 books

What happens to these books? you may be asking. 

Simple answer. I read them.

Some of them I want to read cover-to-cover. 


The finished books I hope to read and review and then pass on to our district's Book Bus, to check out to children this summer:


The rest I've sorted into adult, ya, and children's stacks. I'll save these for a while and see what I want to read. Then, if I pass on reading a complete book, I'll send it out into the world with other school librarians, teachers, and my Little Libraries in low-income areas of our town. 



What would you read first if you had these books to choose from?


Here are some of books I finished recently:

covertitlereviewdate read Down arrow
Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
This book is the little story of the way competition combined with a big problem combined with clever brain synapses resulted in the completion of a p ...more
Apr 14, 2018
Awesome Is Everywhere
Let's take a look at this book. Open it...whoosh! You are way, way up in space, looking down on this beautiful earth. Now tap and you zoom in, down in ...more
Apr 14, 2018

The Overstory
I'm one-handed this week, so typing is a difficult, hunt-and-peck sort of adventure. But that's just an excuse thrown out there; the truth is that I'm...more
Apr 14, 2018

Discovering Titanic's Remains
What do children love to read about? True things. What is one of their favorite true things to read about? The Titanic.

This book is an excellent explo
 ...more
Apr 14, 2018

Marwan's Journey
Marwan is on the road, off on a journey to another place, leaving behind all he knows, all he loves. This is a story of sadness, of loss, but it is al ...more
Apr 09, 2018

Let's Hatch Chicks!: A Day-by-Day Chick Hatching Guide for Kids
What happens when chickens lay eggs?

This is the day-to-day story of what happens. The text and illustrations are perfect for children who want to expl
 ...more
Apr 09, 2018
Everybunny Count!
I've read a lot of counting books in my ten years as a Cybils judge. A lot. I can't imagine how many counting books come across a good editor's desk.

E
 ...more
Apr 09, 2018

Bella Figura: How to Live, Love, and Eat the Italian Way
Kamin Mohammadi moves to Italy for respite from the stressful and unhappy life she has created for herself in London. She begins again, guided by new ...more
Apr 09, 2018
Here Comes the Easter Beagle!
It's Easter, but where is the Easter Beagle? Is he coming this year? Or did he, perhaps, drink a little too much root beer?

This adaptation of the tv m
 ...more
Apr 09, 2018
Hazelnut Days
Children face troubles in our world today. Everything isn't bunnies and puppies. Sadly. Children need books that help them know that other people have ...more
Apr 09, 2018

Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt (A Narwhal and Jelly Book #2)
I was astonished to find that the first Narwhal and Jelly book beat out some amazing books like There's a Bear on My Chair and A Unicorn Named Sparkle ...more
Apr 09, 2018
Zen Camera: Creative Awakening with a Daily Practice in Photography
I'm fascinated with both Zen and photography. This is the perfect book for me.

I'm not an expert on either, and Ulrich doesn't claim to be a Zen master
...more
Apr 07, 2018
The Sufi Book of Life: 99 Pathways of the Heart for the Modern Dervish
When you read on a book for four months, you know that something good is there.

If you are anything like me, you probably know nothing about Sufism. P
...more
Apr 07, 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.