Category Archives: Reflections

August Reflections 2021

August turned out to be a very busy month. It was filled with doctors appointments and treatments for my husband, lingering summer heat, beautiful flowers in the garden, and some enjoyable reading. I am hopeful that, in September, we will spend less time in waiting rooms and more time in our reading chairs or in the garden. We’ll see.

I hope your August was full of good reads and happy summer activities!

May and June…where’d they go?

Daughter and me at our favorite garden center.

Oh my goodness. Yes, we have a lot going on here, but May and June just seemed to get lost in the shuffle of busy-ness. Reading has slowed down, gardening has sped up. In both May and June, all of us now vaccinated, we enjoyed a couple of visits with our daughter. We took a one day road trip to see her home and garden after 15 months of not being able to travel. Then, her visits in May and in June to our place. When she comes for a visit, there’s a lot of garden stuff that happens. We always visit our favorite garden centers, AND she helps in my garden! She weeds my flower beds and makes things look so nice. Her way of “helping,” which is a major understatement!

Two days after she left this last time, I was outside picking our bumper crop of cherries which took three busy days. I hustled to pick as many as I could before THE heat event hit the Pacific Northwest. Then I spent my mornings watering to keep things alive in the intense heat, and afternoons in retreat from the most intense heat I’ve ever experienced. Thinking back over the last two months, it’s no wonder I am feeling very fatigued! But here I am, checking in and letting you know I am still here, and still reading!

Books finished in May and June:

Hopefully, with the hot afternoons of July upon us, I will be getting more reading done while staying cool indoors parked in front of our window air conditioner. And hopefully, we won’t have a repeat of that record-breaking heat wave! I don’t want to repeat those three days of 104, 109, and 112 degrees!

I hope this post finds you enjoying your summer, and that it is filled with sunshine and books…and nice mild temperatures!

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