I must start this post with an apology for disappearing into silence on this blog. April and May have been a particularly busy time for me as well as an emotional time. (We call May our “tender-hearted month” in my family.) Unfortunately, once I get off track with my posting, I find it hard to get “back in the groove” again. But I have continued with my reading, even being able to read on the porch again when time has allowed, and I am here now to say HI and to reflect on my May reading.
May has been a completely enjoyable reading month. I’ve squeezed in as much reading as I can in between multiple trips to Washington State helping our daughter move and get settled into her new home; helping my husband with his shed building project in our backyard (I’ve always been his construction assistant); trips to the State Legislature with my Moms Demand Action group; and my continuing efforts to get the yard and garden in shape (it still feels like a wilderness area!). I’ve read mostly mysteries, and all have been very enjoyable. I am also half-way through the audiobook of Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, and am almost finished reading Tom Clancy’s Hunt for Red October which I wanted to read before Hubby and I watch the movie again (one of our favorites). I also downloaded the audiobook version (free) of the Mueller Report and am very slowly making my way through it. I feel it is a very important work to read, no matter how long it takes me.
Busy, busy time…and as my friend, Les (Coastal Horizons) said, “Who knew retirement would be so busy!”
Here are the covers of my completed May reads.
My reading time in March was more limited than during the winter months. The nicest reason for that was the arrival of spring blooms and occasional warm-enough days to spend outside cleaning out garden areas, and preparing one area of former garden for the big construction project my husband is undertaking — building a half-garden and half-bicycle shed. That required some transplanting, which we did in the rain.
I also increased my walking time in March, preparing for and then participating in the Shamrock Run in downtown Portland. I was very proud of myself after being relatively sedentary during the cold and icy months. It felt so good to be outside (however soggy) and back in training!
Anyway, I did enjoy my March reading, I just wasn’t as focused on reading projects, which is really OK, I tell myself. And right now, I am happy to have some gardening time (between rainstorms) and as far as my reading goes, I am particularly enjoying reading mysteries again!
Books read in March:
Favorite quote from March reading:
Eugenia Lincoln was very fond of lists. They helped her think. Lists calmed her. They made the world seem orderly and reasonable and manageable, even though the world was none of those things.
~ from Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package, by Kate DiCamillo
Some photos from March:
That’s me in the purple hat.
The month of February turned out to be our real winter this year. January was mild and spring-like. February brought arctic air, snow and ice, many snow days, and dark gray days. Just the thing for staying inside and reading! So I did, and I read a lot this month.
I spent time with a couple of new-to-me mystery series, thanks to recommendations from friends. I’ve been captured by the Ruth Galloway series, by Elly Griffiths, and by the D.I. Nikki Galena series by Joy Ellis. I also revisited an older series that I read many years ago: the Mrs. Pollifax series by Dorothy Gilman. I listened to the first of that series on audiobook, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, and loved it all over again. There’s nothing better than having a good mystery series to enjoy!
For my own celebration of Black History Month, I finished reading Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, and read Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon. Both were beautifully written, powerful and moving stories.
My favorite audiobook of the month was Ken Follett’s Eye of the Needle. My favorite children’s book read this month was Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen, by Deborah Hopkinson.
Quite a varied month for me. The only problem is…I’ve fallen way behind on my review posts! But I will just keep plugging away, one review at a time, and eventually I will catch up, right? Or not! So many books, so little time!
My January reading was a pleasure! With renewed energy for the new year, I focused on my new reading challenges, continued with series I had started, and found many new reads at my library. I read a little poetry, some mysteries, some classics, some children’s books, a photography book, and some Shakespeare. What a mishmash! I enjoyed every moment of my January reading!
Favorite book read in January: Farther Afield, by Miss Read
Favorite for the beauty of the writing: The Country of the Pointed Firs, by Sarah Orne Jewett
Favorite children’s book: Haroun and the Sea of Stories, by Salman Rushdie
Favorite graphic novel: Book Love, by Debbie Tung
My January Gallery:
Today is my seventieth birthday. In all the old classic books I’ve read, the female characters that are 70 years old are really old ladies. Actually, they are portrayed as really old ladies at age 60! But I don’t feel that old and am probably in better physical condition that I was ten years ago, before I retired, thanks to being able to spend time at the gym and keep a challenging walking schedule on top of that. I’ve had a number of friends who are already well into their seventies and eighties and are very active, involved women so I am inspired to follow in their footsteps.
I embrace this birthday and this new decade! I’d like to read a lot, love a lot, and do what I can for the people around me, and try and make a little bit of difference in this crazy world.
by Mary Oliver
I wish I was twenty and in love with life
and still full of beans.
Onward, old legs!
There are the long, pale dunes; on the other side
the roses are blooming and finding their labor
no adversity to the spirit.
Upward, old legs! There are the roses, and there is the sea
shining like a song, like a body
I want to touch
though I’m not twenty
and won’t be again but ah! seventy. And still
in love with life. And still
full of beans.
December was … fun, tenderhearted, busy, and full of books! It was a time of holiday and birthday fun. Our son and grandson both have birthdays between Christmas and New Year’s Day, so we have a week of celebrations each year! December was also “tenderhearted” because it was the first Christmas without my Mom. Of course it is always completely busy with holiday preparations and last minute gift shopping. And this holiday was full of books for each family member!
Despite the busy-ness of the month, I loved my reading and finished thirteen books (and am about halfway through my Classics Club “spin” book, Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche). The December book I enjoyed the most was The Outermost House, by Henry Beston. A close second was Zora and Me, by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon. It’s a fictional account of the childhood of Zora Neale Hurston for middle grade students. A Literary Christmas, full of delightful traditional holiday stories, was a fun audiobook to listen to while running all those errands. All in all, it was a very nice reading month.
I hope you all had a warm and book-filled December, too, my friends!
With the darker, colder days arriving, I found it much harder to keep my spirits up during November. That’s not unusual for me, or for many people at this time of year, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Seasonal Affective Disorder is real. The change of light, the shorter days, and staying indoors more on colder days can lead to melancholy or depression. My reading is my personal antidote to that SAD feeling. It broadens my perspectives and gives me new ways of looking at the world. That cheers me up and also gives me a new appreciation for friends and family.
So with that said, November turned out to be a pretty good reading month for me. I enjoyed getting lost in a variety of books — a mystery, some classics, a Christmas book. I read a number of graphic novels this month, and I’m liking that genre more and more. I especially loved Debbie Tung’s Quiet Girl in a Noisy World, and look forward to her new book, Book Love, to be released in the U.S. on January 1st. My favorite book this month was Michelle Obama’s, Becoming, because it was full of courage and dignity, and hope.
For those of you living in the northern hemisphere, I hope your reading in November was enjoyable and an antidote to the darker, colder days. And for the rest of you, I also hope your November was spent immersed in wonderful books!
My November reads:
As Anne says in L. M. Montgomery’s timeless classic, Anne of Green Gables, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” This October was a particularly beautiful one here in Oregon! It was also a wonderful reading month for me. I thoroughly enjoyed my reading for the Readers Imbibing Peril-XIII challenge, and Dewey’s 24-hour Read-a-thon. Here are the covers of books read during this very successful reading month for me:
My husband and I also did a little bit of traveling this month. We spent a couple of days in the Seattle area where I met with my former teaching teammates and had a wonderful reunion lunch while Byron went on a bike ride. Also while in the area, he and I visited our favorite garden center, and the Yakima Fruit Market, and went out to eat at three of our old favorite restaurants. It was a great get-away!
We also spent a couple of days hiking in Silver Falls State Park. We enjoyed our first hike there so much we returned a week later and brought our daughter with us. We all loved hiking amongst gorgeous the autumn colors.
So all in all, it was a just a great October!
Reflections on the Columbia River, September 2018…
September was both a busy reading month and a busy family month! At the first of the month, I happily joined the Readers Imbibing Peril XIII challenge, hosted by Heather (@Capricious Reader) and Andi (@Estella’s Revenge) and got right to the job of reading from the list of genres that make up the focus of this challenge. It continues until the end of October, which is great because I’m really enjoying reading the books I chose.
I took a reading and blogging break in the middle of the month to travel to Salt Lake City for my mother’s Celebration of Life. It was a beautiful celebration of a life well-lived. My husband and I enjoyed the road trip, being with family, and spending time in the beautiful Rose Garden at Red Butte Garden where we have my parents’ memorial bench. Both my parents donated their bodies to the University of Utah Medical School, so the Garden and the bench are extra special to us, and the bench is a cherished place we visit a often as we can. The bench itself sits in the Rose Garden surrounded by beautiful roses, which they both loved, and is a happy, peaceful place for us to spend time.
My reading has been a great solace to me in the last two months. My extra hour of reading in the afternoon, dedicated to my Mom, has been wonderful! So despite the long-distance road trip, and all the planning that took up so much time, I was able to enjoy 7 books in September. It really should be 8 books, because I am almost finished with Rosamunde Pilcher’s, September, but, unfortunately, I won’t finish it before midnight tonight.
My September reads:
We lose ourselves in books, we find ourselves there too.
My reading in August was both pleasure and solace. The silence left after my Mom’s passing in July was deafening, but I know she would be pleased that I am filling our daily phone conversation time with books! It’s easy to stop everything you are doing when the phone rings and allow yourself an hour of talking about all sorts of things (especially books). So now I allow myself that daily time to read, and it is pure pleasure!
Here are the books I read in August. My favorite was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, but I also loved listening to the very creative Ready Player One. I had set aside The Silkworm for awhile and then decided to finish it for the upcoming RIP-XIII reading challenge. (I started the challenge a week early because I have no self-control!)
August was an enjoyable reading month.