Category Archives: Reflections

April Reflections, 2021

My reading in April really dropped off, due to some happy busy-ness. Reading time was given over to Spring garden projects, a visit from our daughter for the first time in most of a year, and the call to be outdoors by the return of very pleasant weather.

I was able to finish two books in April. The first one was Hamnet, by Maggie O’Farrell, (which I loved). The second one was The Consequences of Fear, by Jacqueline Winspear, (a fun addition to her Maisie Dobbs series). I also made a little more progress in my long-term project of reading The Emperor of All Maladies: a Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee, a book that is both painful and fascinating to read.

I must confess that not spending so much time reading during the day was delightful. It is simply wonderful to be outside in the sunshine after the long gray days of rainy winter/early spring in the Pacific Northwest.

 

March Reflections 2021

Rooftop Geraniums-San Miguel de Allende, by Patricia Clayton

March has been a frustrating month for me because I am sooo ready to have warmer temperatures and gardening weather arrive. Impatient is the word. But please forgive my complaining about the weather. It’s just winter and quarantine fatigue combined.

My March reading was interesting, informative, and enjoyable. It was a complete hodgepodge of genres…I’m all over the place right now. Two of the books finished were on Korea — both South and North. I read a cozy mystery, a gardening book, an award-winning children’s book, and a romance. I’m continuing to read The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee, a little bit at a time. I am also in the middle of reading Hamnet, by Maggie O’Farrell, which is incredibly good! It was highly recommended by my sister-in-law, and it’s living up to the recommendation!

So, yes, another enjoyable reading month while I wait for the gardening weather to arrive more consistently.

 

Celebrating Black History Month

I’m very slow at posting about my February reading, but it was a wonderful reading month for me. Much of my reading was in celebration of Black History Month. I read some outstanding books by black authors, and my celebration of these writers will continue on and on, not just ending at the end of February. There are so many good books that I haven’t gotten to yet!

Here are the books I read for Black History Month. Some reviews will be coming soon.

 

January Reflections, 2021

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I was so happy to welcome this January and this new year! After all the difficulties of 2020, how nice to have a “new beginning”!  And the month was filled with LIFE.

Weather-wise, January started with unusually warm weather and all our bulbs thought Spring had arrived. Mid-month, we had a week of major rainstorms with flooding and the closing of many streets in the area, and with water in our basement (110-year-old home with a leaky foundation). After the rains and the flooding subsided, we had a storm that dumped a couple of inches of snow on us!  It didn’t stick around very long, however, with the temperatures warming back up to 39-40 degrees during the day, but we enjoyed it while we could.

Hubby and I were able to get our first dose of the Covid vaccine (Moderna). Hubby has some health issues that put him into the first phase, and because of that, I was also able to get my first dose. We are now anxiously waiting to make appointments for our second dose. So far, we haven’t been able to do that. Yikes!

My reading this month was both productive and enjoyable. Productive in that I focused on reading more books from my Classics Club list. I have now read 45 out of the 50 books I planned on reading for my 5-year period of time. My favorite reads this month were from that list: The Enchanted April, by Elizabeth von Arnim; The Reluctant Dragon, by Kenneth Grahame; and Most Secret, by Nevil Shute. Another favorite was the audiobook of Stacy Abrams’ book, Our Time is Now. I will be reviewing that one soon.

I am really looking forward to my February reading! Because it is Black History Month, I’ve decided that my focus will be to choose from the wealth of excellent books by black authors– from classics to modern fiction to non-fiction to books for young people! I have so many good books already waiting for me!

 

 

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!

September Reflections, 2020

September reflections…

September, this year, was an unusual month. The first half was filled with smoke and anxiety due to the many fires burning here in Oregon. The air quality was at the very hazardous level, and so our family all had to stay inside even more than usual — a quarantine within the quarantine! Many (but not all!) of the fires were finally brought under control, and the air cleared, so we could begin to enjoy the outdoors again, within the limitations of the pandemic.

With all of this necessary indoor time, I filled my hours with lots of reading. I focused mostly on reading mysteries for the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge, and thoroughly enjoyed myself! But I read other things, as well, including starting the first books for my annual Holiday reading. So all in all, September was a good, and very enjoyable, reading month for me.

Favorites of a Decade: the 2010s

With the beginning of this new decade, I want to take a moment and look back at my last decade of reading. I went through my notebooks and lists, and found one book that was a favorite for me for each year of the decade 2010-2019. Each of these books touched me in some special way and brought much joy to my life. I loved this decade of varied and wonderful reading and look forward to what this new decade will bring into my reading life!

2010:  NATHAN COULTER, by Wendell Berry
2011:  GREEN WITCH, by Alice Hoffman
2012:  ELIZABETH AND HER GERMAN GARDEN, by Elizabeth von Arnim
2013:  DANDELION WINE, by Ray Bradbury
2014:  A TOWN LIKE ALICE, by Nevil Shute
2015:  EMILY DICKINSON’S GARDENS: A CELEBRATION OF A POET AND GARDENER, by Marta McDowell
2016:  THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2017:  A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY, by J.L. Carr
2018:  BECOMING,  by Michelle Obama
2019:  THE MAGIC APPLE TREE, by Susan Hill

 

Looking Back at 2019


Looking back at 2019, I am happy with my reading year. In addition to my usual reading,  I took on a number of challenges and enjoyed the books I read for each one. I love the journey of each challenge and the exposure to new authors, genres, and ideas that really expand my world.

Turning seventy years old felt like a big milestone and I wanted to celebrate it in some special way. So I put together a self-challenge called “EMBRACING SEVENTY.”  I created a 1949 list of books and movies– anything to do with 70. It turned out to be a fun research project. Here are the books I read, and the one movie from 1949 that my husband and I watched:

”WANDERLUST” was another self-challenge I put together this year in an effort to read more international literature. I read both children and adult books and liked the glimpses into other cultures. I will continue this challenge in 2020 and beyond.

For a second year in a row, I signed up for Adam’s 2019 OFFICIAL TBR challenge. Last year I read 4 books for his challenge, and this year I did the same. That’s 8 books that have been sitting on my bookshelf for far too long, so I’m happy to have been motivated to finally read them. Thank you, Adam, for hosting this challenge. I’ll miss it! Here’s my list of books read in 2019:

Dolce Bellezza’s JAPANESE LITERATURE Challenge always calls to me, and in 2019 I read one book and watched three Japanese films. Meredith always puts together a really classy challenge! My 2019 books and movies:

Films:

I had good intentions when I signed up for Rachel’s (@hibernatorslibrary) A YEAR of SHAKESPEARE Challenge this year. I was going to read three Shakespeare plays, but I ended up only reading one (which I enjoyed very much!). But I also read a lot of different books about that play, so it really was an immersive experience, and a lot of fun. Here’s what I read for this challenge:

A Shakespeare Comedy : The Winter’s Tale

READERS IMBIBING PERIL- XIV was a great challenge this fall! It’s one of my favorite challenges each year, and I enjoy it more and more each year!  I love mysteries and suspense novels, good book series and good TV mystery series, so I had lots of fun reading and watching movies!

PERIL the FIRST:

  1. The Lost One, by Mary Stewart
  2. The Little Sister, by Raymond Chandler
  3. Christmas in Absaroka County, by Craig Johnson
  4. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
  5. The Religious Body, by Catherine Aird
  6. An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good, by Helene Tursten
  7. The Case of the Famished Parson, by George Bellairs
  8. Rose Cottage, by Mary Stewart
  9. The House on the Strand, by Daphne du Maurier
  10. Trouble in Nuala, by Harriet Steel
  11. Whiteout, by Ken Follett

PERIL on the SCREEN:

  1. 4:50 From Paddington
  2. Murder at the Gallop
  3. The Mirror Crack’d
  4. Murder Most Foul 

I joined THE CLASSICS CLUB in March of 2017 and agreed to read 50 Books in 5 Years. This is a great challenge, so well organized and with fun activities. I’ve always loved reading classics so it’s a perfect fit for me. As of right now, I’ve read 28 of my 50 books list. This year I read these classics:

Having time to read is such a precious luxury for me and this year has been full of reading joy. And now I’m looking forward to my 2020 reading.

For all my reading friends, may 2020 be a year of joyful reading for you, too!

My November Focus


November and  December have blown by in flash! It’s been a nice Autumn this year, full of new activities, family and friends…and some fun reading. I’ve gone missing again on my blog, so it’s time to check-in and let you know what I’ve been up to and what I am reading.

My first City Council presentation on the new Oregon ERPO law.

My focus and time commitments changed recently. This retired person has taken on some new volunteer responsibilities which require training, meetings, and events. Right after the Parkland shooting almost two years ago, I volunteered to work with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. I desperately needed to DO something about the gun violence epidemic in our country. So I went to monthly meetings, occasionally helped with events.  This Fall, however, I agreed to take on more responsibility and a leadership role in my local chapter. I am now the Community Education lead for our chapter, and I have trained to talk with local community groups about the new Red Flag Law in the state of Oregon. I have also just finished training so that I can present and introduce community groups to the Be SMART For Kids program which focuses on education and awareness about child gun deaths and responsible gun storage. I’m very proud of my work with this national organization, and am happy to be able to give some of my time each month to educating the public about these important issues.

My reading has continued, despite my new obligations. It’s my blogging that got hit the hardest while my focus has been on new learnings and new experiences. But I am finding a new balance of home and volunteerism, so I am planning on returning to more consistent posting as we start the new year.

My November and December reading…I have been captured by Deborah Crombie’s mystery series with lead characters Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. I’m now on book #7 in the series, and I just don’t seem to be slowing down on reading one right after the other. What a pleasure to get caught up in a new-to-me series.

Books read in November and December (so far…still more December reading to come!):

  • A Share in Death, by Deborah Crombie
  • Fight Like a Mother, by Shannon Watts
  • The Burglar’s Christmas, by Willa Cather
  • All Shall Be Well, by Deborah Crombie
  • Leave the Grave Green, by Deborah Crombie
  • The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, by Agatha Christie
  • Dreaming of the Bones, by Deborah Crombie
  • Kissed a Sad Goodbye, by Deborah Crombie
  • King of the Wind, by Maguerite Henry
  • The Spirit of Christmas, by Nancy Tillman
  • Christmas with Anne, and Other Holiday Stories, by L.M. Montgomery
  • The Crowded Street, by Winifred Holtby

I do hope you have had an enjoyable Fall, too. Busy and full of books!