Category Archives: Kindle

New Books

A number of new books arrived this weekend for my birthday. It’s so fun to see what my family chooses for me when they buy me books. My daughter sent me a Kindle book I’ve been interested in reading for a long time. My brother and sister-in-law sent the two hilarious squirrel books along with a very interesting-looking book written by their friend. And not in the photo is the first book in a Japanese Manga series from Byron, because he knows I’ve been enjoying those. My reading heart is warmed by all this book love!



This last week I have been immersed in garden dreaming, garden planning, and garden reading!  This is clearly a reaction to the cold and snowy weather here in the Pacific Northwest!  My current book from the online digital section of my library has an appropriate name for my state of mind: Gardenlust!  Written by Christopher Woods, Gardenlust, A Botanical Tour of the World’s Best New Gardens, is a “A beautiful tour through some of the loveliest gardens in the world!” ~ Peter H. Raven, President Emeritus at Missouri Botanical Garden. It was published by one of my favorite publishing companies, Timber Press, and is really an interesting book to read, especially in the middle of a cold February!

The photography is gorgeous and the information about each of these botanical gardens is very interesting to read. I haven’t finished the book yet, but I will be giving it a very good rating on Goodreads. What a pleasure to read on this snowy/icy weekend!


Road Trip Reading

Early May is a special time in my family. The family often gathers to celebrate the birthdays of my brother and of my father who would have been 97 years old on this birthday. We also celebrate Mother’s Day (a little early this year) and honor our amazing Mom who is still so strong in intellect and spirit, although increasingly unsteady physically.

So our visit meant a road trip for Byron and me, which we are enjoying very much, especially after this long and confining winter. We, of course, brought our Kindles with us. When it was my turn to drive, Byron read The Dream of Reason: A History of Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance, by Anthony Gottlieb.  And while he drove, I read my current mystery: Death in La Fenice, by Donna Leon.

We stopped for an overnight visit with my brother and sister-in-law, both voracious readers, so we left with this extensive list of books to read:

And when we arrived at my mother’s place, I found that she had just finished reading Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart, for her book club . I also thought you might be interested to see some of the books on her shelf so I took some photos for you.

With the family together (minus one brother and sister-in-law), we talked a lot about the current state of affairs in this country and the world, but we also talked a lot about books. It’s so nice to come from a family of readers!

Fractured Reading


Do you ever feel as if your reading life is fractured?  I always have at least three books going at the same time…an audiobook to listen to while driving or knitting, a Kindle book, and a library book. Perhaps because of the bitter cold, dreary, and confining weather we are having, plus the dismal state of the union at the moment, I find that my reading life is definitely fractured!  I am reading 7 different, very diverse, books at the same time ! And I’m enjoying them all!

Currently reading

  • Kindle Books: I am in the middle of The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien, my re-read of his Lord of the Rings trilogy. I am also reading Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, for Roof Beam Reader’s Classics Book-a-Month Club. I started Wild Seed, by Octavia Butler, last month then set it aside to start Little Women…but I keep going back to it. And then I pre-ordered the book The Meaning of Michelle, by Veronica Chambers, and it came in last week, so I started it, too!

Definitely fractured reading, and It’s a little like a reading frenzy, too. Does this ever happen to you, or am I completely losing it in the middle of the very January January??

Currently Reading and Listening


October just flew by this year and here it is November already. As the days grow shorter and darker, I spend more time reading and listening to audiobooks while doing winter knitting projects. Right now I am reading a number of different things. My current library book is Wild Seed, by Octavia Butler. This is my first time reading her work and I’ve found that I really like her writing. My current Audible listen is J.K. Rowling’s The Silkworm. My current Kindle book is Rules For a Successful Book Club (The Book Lovers, #2), by Victoria Connelly. And a friend loaned me another Kindle book to add to my annual holiday reading project. It’s called A Cornish Christmas, by Lily Graham. There’s no shortage of books to light up these shorter darkening days!


My Summer Reading


Fall is already here and I haven’t written yet about my summer reading. I had a lovely summer, filled with travel, gardening, reading, and long walks.  Despite the busy-ness of the season, I also thoroughly enjoyed my reading on the porch!

I discovered a new-to-me author this summer — Victoria Connelly — and really enjoyed reading numerous of her books. A book by a favorite author, Patricia McKillip, was disappointing to me. I just couldn’t get into it. Perhaps it was just not the right time? Reading Kent Haruf‘s Our Souls at Night was a highlight of the summer. His last book and such a beautiful and tender story, beautifully written,  was a real gift to his readers. I also loved reading Gary Paulsen‘s trilogy of memories about his grandmother. What a loving tribute to her! Although I didn’t listen to as many audiobooks as I do during wintertime, I really enjoyed listening to both The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling), and I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith.

So you can see that even though I’ve been quiet on this blog for a few months, reading was an important and delightful part of my summer. I hope you enjoyed your summer reading as much as I did mine!


Silent Voices

Silent Voices

Silent Voices is such a good mystery! This was the first book I could get hold of in the Vera Stanhope series, by Ann Cleeves, although it’s actually the 4th book. Looks like the series will be republished and the earlier books available next February? I will definitely read the earlier books when they come out. And, in the meantime, I do love the TV series starring Brenda Blethyn! She does a great job as Vera!

Garden Reading

August, so far, seems to be one of those times when I can’t settle into reading just one book. I’m currently reading 4 different ones! How crazy is that? But I keep going back to one book in particular, on my Kindle, and I’m enjoying it very much. I think it reflects where I’m spending much of my time (in my garden) as well as where I really want to put my reading efforts! Here it is:

Emily DIckinson

Bubo, the Great Horned Owl

Photo from the San Diego Zoo website. Click on the photo to visit their wonderful site!

Photo from the San Diego Zoo website. Click on the photo to visit their wonderful site!

My family is fascinated with birds of all kinds, but especially with owls!  We have learned so much by watching the web cams of nesting birds this summer.  In March, we followed an owl family in Northern California (click here to read my post), but then we found the Texas Barn Owls cam on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology web site, and we’ve watched them all summer long. Fascinating!

Barn Owl

Barn Owl on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology web cam. Click on the photo to visit the site!

One of my favorite publishing groups, Open Road Media, has recently published a wonderful series of e-books by the award-winning naturalist/author, Jean Craighead George, who wrote Julie of the Wolves, and whom I admire a lot. This series of books for young people (of all ages!) is called “American Woodland Tales,” and each book focuses on a different animal from the woodlands. Of course, I chose to start the series by reading Bubo, the Great Horned Owl, because I actually saw a Great Horned Owl once, and it was a thrilling experience! This little book is beautifully written and so interesting. I look forward to reading all the others in the series!

Bubo, the Great Horned Owl

Decent Men

The Keeper of the BeesI just finished reading a really good book, The Keeper of the Bees, by Gene Stratton-Porter, and as always when I finish a book I’ve been completely immersed in, it’s hard to decide what to read next. With the publication of Harper Lee’s book, Go Set a Watchman, I am very tempted to start that one right away. However, I’m scared! I’m afraid to read it because it might damage my relationship with Atticus Finch, one of the most decent men in literature, and it feels to me that decent men in literature are somewhat of a rarity these days. Three come to my mind immediately: Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird; Danny’s sparky Dad in Danny, the Champion of the World; and now I can add Jamie MacFarlane in The Keeper of the Bees. These are kind, caring, compassionate men who are not afraid to take a stand, who give wholeheartedly, who are not afraid to cry, and who remind us of all that is good in the world. I think I’ll wait to read blogging friends’ reviews before I start the new Harper Lee…just in case.

The Keeper of the Bees, one of Stratton-Porter’s last novels before her untimely death in 1924, was also about a decent man. Jamie MacFarlane was an American war hero (of Scottish descent) who had been seriously wounded in the war and who had just spent the last two years of his life in a military hospital with wounds that would not heal. His spirits were deeply damaged, too, and the doctors treating him had given up on finding a way to help him. He overheard them talking about his case and deciding to send him to a sanitorium for the terminally ill. He decided to walk out of the hospital, since he is going to die anyway, because he would rather die out in nature than in the sanitorium. So he began his “great adventure.”

As he had made his way down the driveway from the hospital to the road, it had occurred to Jamie MacFarlane that for a man in his condition to walk out of the only shelter on earth to which he was entitled without a penny in his pockets was a Great Adventure.

The story is a poignant search for self and for meaning in the face of death, and in the process of that search, he also finds health and life. It’s a very human story, all about relationships and about the deepest questions we all face. It’s also a book that I’d describe as maybe a little “old-fashioned,” because there’s a bit of moralizing, a bit of preaching that were more common in stories written in the late 1800s/early 1900s. But I was so drawn to this kindly character, Jamie, and so immersed in Stratton-Porter’s beautiful descriptions of the natural world, that I couldn’t put it down. I just wanted so much for Jamie to get well and to find the happiness he so deserved.

A passage late in the novel details Gene Stratton-Porter’s intent in writing this story, and describes the decent man young Jamie MacFarlane became:

“To my way of thinking and working, the greatest service a piece of fiction can do any reader is to leave him with a higher ideal of life than he had when he began. If in one small degree it shows him where he can be a gentler, saner, cleaner, kindlier man, it is a wonder-working book. If it opens his eyes to one beauty in nature he never saw for himself and leads him one step toward the God of the Universe, it is a beneficial book, for one step into the miracle of nature leads to that long walk, the glories of which so strengthen even a boy who thinks he is dying, that he faces his struggle like a gladiator.”



Vacation Reading



We are enjoying a beautiful, early June vacation, and early June is such a beautiful time to travel! While teaching, early June would be filled with end-of-the-school year fun and stress, busy as could possibly be. Field trips, testing, finishing units and projects, report cards, and tenderheared goodbyes. In my old school district, there are still 8.5 days of school left! But now retired, we are able to enjoy traveling at a time when temperatures are mild, hillsides are lush green, and roads not yet jammed with traveling families. Ah…the joys of retirement.

So I brought my Kindle along on the trip, and my earphones for listening to my audiobooks. I’m enjoying my traveling reading and listening, relaxing over beautiful scenery and distances with these books: