Category Archives: Challenges

The Classics Club, Round 2


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I first joined The Classics Club in March of 2017 and signed up to read 50 books in 5 years. I just completed those fifty books and it turned out to be a really enjoyable reading experience for me. I do love reading the classics, so here I go with a second round of reading 50 books in the next 5 years!

As with my first list, my reading will be a mix of novels, novellas, non-fiction, short stories, and poetry — a combination of adult and children’s literature. This time I’ve decided to create a pool of classics I’m interested in reading, add to it often as I run into other books I’d like to read, and choose my 50 from that pool of books. I will keep a running list of the books I read along this journey, so please check back here to see my progress. My new time goal for completing this second round of reading 50 books in 5 years is October 1, 2026!  Once again, that sounds so far away, but I know that five years goes by in a flash, and what pleasurable reading years they will be!

(Click here to see my Classics Club List #1)

Classics Club List #2    

GOAL DATE: October 1, 2021 – October 1, 2026
Progress = 0/50

Red = Link to my review
Blue = Read but not reviewed yet

  1. Walking, by Henry David Thoreau
  2. The Fortnight in September, by R.C. Sherriff
  3. The Amethyst Box, by Anna Katharine Green
  4. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, by Mark Twain
  5. .
  6. .
  7. .
  8. .
  9. .
  10. .
  11. .

CLASSICS I’M INTERESTED IN READING:

  • Sons, by Pearl S. Buck
  • A House Divided, by Pearl S. Buck
  • Mandala: A Novel of India, by Pearl S. Buck
  • The Enchantress of Florence, by Salman Rushdie
  • Luka and the Fire of Life, by Salman Rushdie
  • Night, by Elie Wiesel
  • Day, by Elie Wiesel
  • Dawn, by Elie Wiesel
  • On the Beach, by Nevil Shute
  • Marazan, by Nevil Shute
  • Round the Bend, by Nevil Shute
  • What Happened to the Corbetts, by Nevil Shute
  • Barchester Towers, by Anthony Trollope
  • Doctor Thorne, by Anthony Trollope
  • Framley Parsonage, by Anthony Trollope
  • The Small House at Allington, by Anthony Trollope
  • The Last Chronicle of Barset, by Anthony Trollope
  • The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley
  • Green Thoughts, by Eleanor Perenyi
  • Old Herbaceous, by Reginald Arkell
  • The Little Bulbs: A Tale of Two Gardens, by Elizabeth Lawrence
  • Garden Open Today, by Beverley Nichols
  • Garden Open Tomorrow, by Beverley Nichols
  • The Northern Farm: A Glorious Year on a Small Maine Farm, by Henry Beston
  • Walking, by Henry David Thoreau
  • The Snow Leopard, by Peter Matthiessen
  • The Chimes, by Charles Dickens
  • The Holly Tree, by Charles Dickens
  • Ruth, by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Mary Barton, by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Brontë
  • The Professor, by Charlotte Brontë
  • Shirley by Charlotte Brontë
  • Vilette, by Charlotte Brontë
  • The Green Dwarf, by Charlotte Bronte
  • The Ramayana, by Bulbul Sharma
  • Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu
  • The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Eknath Easwaren
  • Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse
  • Days of Reading, by Marcel Proust
  • Remembrance of Things Past, by Marcel Proust
  • Walt Whitman’s Diary: A Summer in Canada, 1880, by Walt Whitman
  • The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
  • Kokoro, by Natsume Soseki
  • The Book of Tea, by Kazuko Okakura
  • A Room of One’s Own, by Virginia Woolf
  • The Sea Around Us, by Rachel Carson
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne
  • The Land of Little Rain, by Mary Hunter Austin
  • The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
  • Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott
  • Sounder, by William K. Armstrong
  • Miracles on Maple Hill, by Virginia Sorensen
  • Malgudi Days, by R.K. Narayan
  • Therese Raquin, by Emile Zola
  • House Made of Dawn, by N. Scott Momaday
  • The Secret Agent, by Joseph Conrad
  • The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Losing Battles, by Eudora Welty
  • A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, by Frederick Douglass
  • The Souls of Black Folk, by W.E.B. Du Bois
  • Up from Slavery, by Booker T. Washington
  • The Fire Next Time,  by James Baldwin
  • Home, by Toni Morrison
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor
  • The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales, by Virginia Hamilton
  • Phillip Hall Likes Me, I Reckon, by Bette Green
  • Daniel Deronda, by George Eliot
  • The Return of the Native, by Thomas Hardy
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera
  • The Fortnight in September, by R.C. Sherriff
  • Tales of the Alhambra, by Washington Irving
  • Old Christmas, by Washington Irving
  • Green Mansions, by W.H. Hudson
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
  • The Princess Priscilla’s Fortnight, by Elizabeth von Arnim
  • The Caravaners, by Elizabeth von Arnim
  • The Story of Doctor Dolittle, by Hugh Lofting
  • The Golden Goblet, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
  • The Egg and I, by Betty Macdonald
  • The Plague and I, by Betty Macdonald
  • The Black Monk, by Anton Chekhov
  • The Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoyevski
  • The Cossacks, by Leo Tolstoy
  • Seven Years in Tibet, by Heinrich Harrer, Richard Graves
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car, by Ian Fleming
  • The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas
  •  As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, by Laurie Lee
  • A Moment of War, by Laurie Lee
  • A Rose for Winter, by Laurie Lee
  • The Amethyst Box, by Anna Katharine Green
  • The Stranger, by Albert Camus
  • Summer at Fairacre, by Miss Read
  • Mrs. Pringle, by Miss Read
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, by Mark Twain
  • My Daniel, by Pam Conrad
  • A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
  • A Death in the Family, by James Agee
  • Death Be Not Proud, by John Gunther
  • The Joys of Motherhood, by Buhi Emecheta
  • Winters Tales, by Isak Dinesen
  • In Morocco, by Edith Wharton
  • Some Tame Gazelle, by Barbara Pym
  • The Sign of the Four, by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Hound of the Baskerville, by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Valley of Fear, by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Footsteps in the Dark, by Georgette Heyer
  • I Heard the Owl Call My Name, by Margaret Craven

Reading on the porch…

A Completed Challenge: The Classics Club, Round One

On March 7, 2017, I joined The Classics Club and made a commitment to read 50 books in 5 years. I just posted my 50th review and completed this challenge!

I loved the reading I did for this challenge, and because I enjoyed it so much, and because there are endless classics to read, I’ll be signing up in the next few days for another 50 books in 5 years!  Watch for my post: Classics Club-Round 2!

You can click here to see my Classics Club-Round 1, with the list of the books I read and the links to my reviews.

Woohoo!!   And now… back to my reading!

“Figure in Backlight”, by Pietro Scoppetta, Italian 1863-1920

Poison for Breakfast


Here’s a quote from a fun little book I read for the Readers Imbibing Peril -XVI challenge. The book, Poison for Breakfast, by Daniel Handler, was the first Lemony Snicket book I’ve read, and it made me laugh out loud and kept me highly entertained throughout. This quote, though, struck a particularly familiar chord with me, so I share it with you this morning,

I always like to have a book with me at breakfast, although sometimes I do not read much of it. Some breakfasts I do not even open the book, but it sits beside me like a quiet companion while my thoughts wander all over the morning.

Good morning, Readers!

Pietr the Latvian


Pietr the Latvian is the first book in George Simenon’s extensive series with “Inspector Maigret.” I’ve been curious about this series for years, so I thought it was about time to find out why so many people seem to like Inspector Maigret. And I discovered that I liked him, too!

According to Wikipedia, the character of Inspector Jules Maigret “was invented by Simenon while drinking in a cafe by a Dutch canal and imagining a Parisian policeman: “a large powerfully built gentleman…a pipe, a bowler hat, a thick overcoat.”  Maigret was reputed to be based on Marcel Guillaume, an actual French detective, although Simenon himself variously claimed not to remember the inspiration or that Maigret was influenced by Simenon’s own father.”

Inspector Maigret was a man that people would often underestimate. His size and his unassuming manner were a perfect cover for his keen instincts and skills.  His knowledge of human behavior, his uncanny ability to observe the smallest details, and his brilliantly deductive mind made him an enjoyable detective to follow.

Summary of this first Maigret novel from the publisher:

Inspector Jules Maigret, a taciturn detective and commissaire of the Paris Brigade Criminelle, receives notice from Interpol that a notorious conman known only as Pietr the Latvian is en route to France. Armed with a broad description and a scant few clues, Maigret plans to intercept him at the train station outside Paris. But when he arrives, he finds that there are several suspects—some living, and some dead—who meet the description uncannily well.

Who is Pietr the Latvian, truly? A vagrant, a seaman, a businessman, a corpse? Russian, Norwegian, American or Latvian?  In Pietr the Latvian, the iconic first novel of Simenon’s classic series that made Inspector Maigret a legendary figure in the annals of detective fiction, Maigret must use his every instinct to unravel the mystery and track down the truth.

There are twenty-two books in the Inspector Maigret series. It would be very easy to get caught in this series … a terrific winter reading project, perhaps?

 

Author, George Simenon

I read this book for the Readers Imbibing Peril XVI challenge. It was a book that was on my list of 50 books in 5 years for The Classics Club.

It’s Time for RIP-XVI!

It’s THAT time of year again! Time for the traditional autumn reading challenge (started sixteen years ago by Carl V. Anderson) known as RIP, or Readers Imbibing Peril.

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books (and movies and podcasts) that could be classified as:

Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.

Basically, read scary.

“Are you reading for spooky season? We need more wicked good books (and screen) in our lives, so being the rule-breakers we are, #RIPXVI BEGINS NOW. How do you play? Tag @PerilReaders, #ripxv, and #perilreaders in your Twitter and/or Instagram posts. It’s that easy. Wicked easy.”

I will be reading mostly mysteries for this challenge, not super spooky or horror-filled books. I’d like to continue on with a number of different mystery series that I started and want to get back to. Much of my reading time will be spent in waiting rooms (or in the car waiting) while my husband undergoes treatments for his cancer, so a good mystery book will help the time go by and provide an antidote to anxiety.

This post will be where I track my books read for this challenge. I will keep an ever-growing list of books read and movies watched, so check back here frequently. Just click on the R.I.P.XVI graphic in my sidebar and it will bring you here.

I hope all of you who are participating in this autumnal challenge enjoy your reading, movie-watching, podcast-listening!

Peril of the Fiction:

  1. Mrs. Pollifax and the Second Thief, by Dorothy Gilman
  2. Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley
  3. Pietr the Latvian, by George Simenon
  4. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving
  5. Bury Your Dead, by Louise Penny
  6. The Amethyst Box, by Anna Katharine Green

Peril of the Short Story:

  1. Hero, by Susan Hill
  2. A Christmas Tragedy, by Baroness Orczy
  3. One More Body in the Pool, by Ray Bradbury
  4. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, by Ambrose Bierce
  5. Sherlock Holmes: The Affair of the Christmas Jewel, by Barry Roberts

Peril of the Screen:

  1. Tale of the Nine-Tailed
  2. Perry Mason, the series

Read-a-thon: April 2021

It’s been such a busy week here so I’m really happy that today is Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon. It is wonderful to be spending some time reading again!

The week was happy-busy. Our daughter, now vaccinated, came to visit for the first time since last year. She is an avid gardener, so while she was here, we visited three garden centers for inspiration and specific plants, dug a new flower bed in front of the bicycle/gardening shed my husband has built, and ordered a load of garden blend soil. She was a wonderful help with these Spring gardening projects, and since the sun shone all week, we were able to get those projects mostly finished. Byron and I were sad when she left for home, but look forward to a return visit from her next month.

Today, after such a sunshiny week, it is raining. Perfect read-a-thon weather! My readathon plans are minimal this time. Nothing fancy…no special snacks or anything. Just reading and more reading. I have a number of books I’d like to finish today. I’m in the middle of Jacqueline Winspear‘s latest book, The Consequences of Fear. I’ve borrowed a few books from the library, and my Kindle is loaded, so I’ve got plenty to keep me busy.

I’ll keep a list on this post of the books I finish, so check back later to see what I’m up to.
HAPPY READING, EVERYONE!

My Reading in 2020

My reading in 2020 was comfort and solace, educational and life-affirming, and lots of fun. That’s not bad for a year of chaos, trauma, and losses of all kinds! As I’ve said many times throughout 2020, I am lucky to be a reader, an introvert, and retired! It made this fearful year of quarantine a lot less stressful.

Here are some of my favorite books read in 2020:

 

My two favorite series read in 2020:

 

Progress made on my Challenges this year:

I joined The Classics Club in March 2017 and made a commitment to read 50 classics in five years. At the end of this year, with another year and 3 months to go to meet this challenge, I have read 39 out of 50 books on my list!

Every year, I welcome Autumn by participating in the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge. This year was the fifteenth year for this challenge, and I read and enjoyed 8 books. Click here to read my reviews.

 

I also have a number of ongoing personal reading challenges that I enjoy. I call them my Reading Journeys. There is no time limit on my reading for these challenges, but they are all special genres, learning paths, and authors I enjoy. I love keeping track of them, thus the list below of my progress on each one!  Click here to see each of my omgoing Reading Journeys.

  • May Sunshine Light Your Day: I have read 5 out of 9 books.
  • Reading Pearl:  I have read 9 out of 32 choices.
  • Reading Miss Read: I have read 15 out of 37 books.
  • Reading Nevil Shute:  I have read 17 out of 24 books.
  • Wanderlust, Reading the World:  I have read 32 out of 196 choices.
  • Wanderlust, Reading the 50 States:  I have read 13 out of 50 books.
  • My Anti-Racist Education: I have read 25 books.
  • My Garden Reading:  I have read 32 books.
  • My Holiday Reading:  I have read 79 books.
  • B’s Reading Challenge:  I have read 1 out of 4 books.

And, finally, here is the link to my GOODREADS “Year in Books 2020,” with a list of all the books I read this year.

I hope your 2021 is full of good health, good books, and much happiness!
Happy New Year, my friends!

Readers Imbibing Peril, XV

It sort of snuck up on me this year (my sense of time is pretty confused by this pandemic), but I’m so excited that the annual challenge, Readers Imbibing Peril, is now upon us! It’s my favorite challenge of the year, and always marks the coming of Fall. This is the 15th year and it just gets better and better.

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:

Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.

Basically, read scary.

“Are you reading for spooky season? We need more wicked good books (and screen) in our lives, so being the rule-breakers we are, #RIPXV BEGINS NOW. How do you play? Tag @PerilReaders and #ripxv in your Twitter and/or Instagram posts. It’s that easy. Wicked easy.”

This post will be my “tracker” for the challenge. I will keep an ever-growing list of books read and movies watched, so check back here frequently. Just click on the R.I.P.XV graphic in my sidebar and it will bring you here.

My books read list:

The Body on the Beach, by Simon Brett.
The first book in the Fethering Village series. Recently retired, Carole Seddon, finds a body on the beach while walking her dog one morning. However, a short while later the police can’t find the body so they don’t take her very seriously. It’s up to Carole and her next door neighbor, Jude, to solve the mystery themselves. Fun!  I rated it 3.5 stars on Goodreads.

The House of Dies Drear, by Virginia Hamilton.
I really enjoyed this book, and would have loved it had I read it as a middle grade student! I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.    “The house of Dies Drear loomed out of mist and murky sky, not only gray and formless, but huge and unnatural. It seemed to crouch on the side of a hill high above the highway. And it had a dark, isolated look about it that set it at odds with all that was living.“

Blanche White on the Lam, by Barbara Neely.
This was a fun book, the first in a series that I’m looking forward to reading. I gave this first book 4.5 stars on Goodreads.   “Blanche White is a plump, feisty, middle-aged African-American housekeeper working for the genteel rich in North Carolina. But when an employer stiffs her, and her checks bounce, she goes on the lam, hiding out as a maid for a wealthy family at their summer home. That plan goes awry when there’s a murder and Blanche becomes the prime suspect. So she’s forced to use her savvy, her sharp wit, and her old-girl network of domestic workers to discover the truth and save her own skin.” 

Hearts of the Missing, by Carol Potenza.
This first book by author Carol Potenza won the Tony HIllerman Prize in 2017. I loved all the Tony Hillerman mysteries, so when I discovered that this book had won the Tony Hillerman Prize, I had to read it. It did not disappoint and was a book I’ve now recommended highly to family and friends. I gave it 5 stars on Goodread!     “When a young woman linked to a list of missing Fire-Sky tribal members commits suicide, Pueblo Police Sergeant Nicky Matthews is assigned to the case. As the investigation unfolds, she uncovers a threat that strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Fire-Sky Native: victims chosen and murdered because of their genetic makeup. But these deaths are not just about a life taken. In a vengeful twist, the killer ensures the spirits of those targeted will wander forever, lost to their family, their People, and their ancestors. When those closest to Nicky are put in jeopardy, she must be willing to sacrifice everything–her career, her life, even her soul–to save the people she is sworn to protect.”

The Clue of the Tapping Heels, by Carolyn Keene.
I am slowly rereading the original series of Nancy Drew mysteries. This one was #16 in the series, and I vaguely remember it from my early years. These books are much fun to revisit, although I can only read one or two every once in awhile. It was very different way back then. I’d go to the library and come home with 5 or 6 of them that I would read straight through.  I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads.    “Challenging questions confront Nancy Drew when she attempts to solve the mystery of the strange tapping sounds in the house of a retired actress. Who is the tapper? How does he gain access to Miss Carters house, despite securely locked doors and windows? Why do the tapping sounds come in Morse code? Is there a sinister motive behind the prowlers actions? While trying to learn the answers to these and other puzzling questions, Nancy finds her investigations complicated by the dishonest administrator of a will and by a thief who steals the actress’s prize Persian cats.”

The Day of the Jackal, by Frederick Forsyth.
An old suspense thriller that I missed reading as a young mother chasing a toddler around all day. I remember hearing about this book, but didn’t have time to follow through in those days. How nice to be retired and have time to catch up on books I missed reading back then! I gave this book 3.5 stars on Goodreads.    “He is known only as “The Jackal”—a cold, calculating assassin without emotion, or loyalty, or equal. He’s just received a contract from an enigmatic employer to eliminate one of the most heavily guarded men in the world—Charles De Gaulle, president of France.”

The Sea Detective, by Mark Douglas-Home.
A new-to-me author, I really liked this first book in a mystery series by Mark Douglas-Home. It was well-written and very interesting, taking place in Scotland. I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads.    “Cal McGill is an Edinburgh-based oceanographer, environmentalist and one-of-a-kind investigator.  Using his knowledge of the waves – ocean currents, prevailing winds, shipping records – McGill can track where objects have come from, or where they’ve gone. It’s a unique skill that can help solve all sorts of mysteries.”

Gently in the Sun, by Alan Hunter.
This is the sixth book in the George Gently detective series by Alan Hunter. I started this series a few years ago, and thought I’d read another episode for the RIP-XV challenge. I loved the George Gently tv series on PBS, so for me, the books are enhanced by picturing the actor that played this character on TV.     “Every man in Hiverton knows Rachel Campion. She is the most gorgeous girl to have turned up in the fishing village in living memory. When she is discovered lying dead on the beach, Gently joins the throngs of summer visitors on their annual pilgrimage to the seaside in the midst of a summer heatwave – and as the temperature soars, the mystery deepens.”

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Classics Club Spin #24

It’s time for another Classics Club “Spin!”  Here’s how it works:

At your blog, by August 9th, 2020,, create a post that lists twenty books of your choice that remain “to be read” on your Classics Club list.

This is your “Spin List.”

You have to read one of these twenty books by the end of the spin period.

Try to challenge yourself. For example, you could list five Classics Club books you have been putting off, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favourite author, re-reads, ancients, non-fiction, books in translation — whatever you choose.)

The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List by 30th September, 2020.

During this time of continued quarantine for Covid-19, I am enjoying a lot of reading. So here I go again with a list of  books from my 50 books to read before March, 2022.
Please check back here soon to see which of these books I will be reading for the new Spin!

  1. Rose in Bloom, Louisa May Alcott
  2. Barchester Towers, Anthony Trollope
  3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
  4. A River Runs Through It, Norman McClean
  5. Night, Elie Wiesel
  6. The Book of Tea, Kazuko Okakura
  7. Heidi, Johanna Spyri
  8. A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf
  9. Ruth, Elizabeth Gaskell
  10. The Story of an African Farm, Olive Schreiner
  11. A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry
  12. Kokoro, Natsume Soseki
  13. Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke
  14. The Ramayana, Bulbul Sharma
  15. The Lost Prince, Frances Hodgson Burnett
  16. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Mildred D. Taylor
  17. The Gaucho Martin Fierro, José Hernández
  18. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros

  19. Sons, Pearl S. Buck
  20. Barracoon, Zora Neale Hurston

Around the World in Eighty Days

“A true Englishman doesn’t joke when he is talking about so serious a thing as a wager.”

Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne, is a classic that I was familiar with, watched the movie version, but had never read the book. So I  put it on my “Fifty books in five years” list for The Classics Club. It was so much more fun, and funnier, than I expected! It’s a wild mad dash around the world!

The story is that Phileas Fogg makes a wager with his gentleman’s club members that he can circle the world in just eighty days. He and his French valet, Passepartout, set out from London to win this wager, and have every kind of adventure, and obstacles to overcome, that can be imagined. To add to the adventure, although he didn’t realize it at the time, he was pursued by a detective due to a misunderstanding that he was a criminal on the run.

“It’s really useful to travel, if you want to see new things.”

This novel was full of humor and fun. I must read more of Jules Verne’s books!

 

I read this book as one of my 50-books-in-5-years for The Classics Club.