"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime that Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater

Argh! There are so many reviews I've wanted write for books read in 2017. I'm out of time. It is time to call UNCLE and admit they will not get written unless I give them less-than-full reviews. Here is the second of three.

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime that Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater
      Sasha is a white genderqueer teenager who likes to wear skirts and refer to self as "their, while Richard is a black teen who likes to goof around with his pals and has seen more than his fair share of deaths due to gun violence. They both were teens living in Oakland, California but lived very different lives. Then one day, for a mere 8 minutes the two came into the same sphere, on the 57 bus. While Sasha slept, Richard, egged on by his peers, lit Sasha's filmy sweater on fire with a lighter. Sasha sustained severe burns to his legs and had to go through months of agonizing treatments. Richard was arrested and charged with a hate crime and was remanded to be tried as an adult. Richard, who had been in juvenile detention previously, was deeply sorry for what he did. He even wrote several letters to Sasha expressing this. Several people advocated on behalf of Richard, asking the courts to try Richard as a juvenile. The case gained international attention. One thoughtless act changed the lives of two teens forever.
     Dashka Slater initially wrote an article for the NY Times about the crime on the 57 bus. She extended her research and wrote this compelling account of a crime and its victims in book form. She writes in a journalistic style which I found easy to read. Though, as a librarian, I was bothered by the lack of a works cited page/no source notes. After reading as a judge for the Cybils in the Nonfiction category, I was used to scrutinizing books for correct attributions and references that are useful to student researchers. Though she did cite some of her sources within the text of her writing, many specifics were omitted. I expected see notes about this in the professional publication reviews of the book, but found none. I must be the only person bugged by this. Once I figured this out, I relaxed into the book and found it interesting and compelling.
     One more thing. Sasha refers to self and wants to be called by the pronoun "their". Slater used the pronoun "their" when referring to Sasha. I'll tell you the truth, it got me completely confused. I kept thinking the author was talking about plural people. No matter how many times I coached myself, I was confused the whole time I was reading.  This really isn't the correct time to address this but I will just make a comment anyway.--- I empathize with the Sashas of the world who don't feel like they fit within our language. We need gender neutral singular pronouns in English that don't confuse speakers and readers. The use of "their", which is a plural but neutral pronoun, when referring to a single person is confusing and breaks with grammar rules. It can be changed, as evidenced by the change from Mrs./Miss to Ms. Come on language creators. Let's get this done. Enough said.

Source: Print edition, checked out from the public library.
The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater, Garrar Straus Giroux, 2017.


All the Crooked Saints---a delightful tale full of magical realism


All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
     Everyone wants a miracle yet most fear what it will require to receive one.
     The Soria family is all about miracles. Pilgrims arrive to their ranch in Bicho Raro, Colorado in search of a miracle. The first step is easy, the second is hard. So the pilgrims stay until they can discover what they need to do to receive that second miracle so they will be cured of what ails them. The problem is that the Sorias cannot help them with the second step because contact past the initial miracle will destroy them. So the pilgrims and the Sorias live in constant tension. That is until two men arrive, one of them doesn't need a miracle and suddenly the way forward starts to become clear. In order to help others, one must pay attention to needs of self.
     I am a fan of Maggie Stiefvater and her books, with this one being no exception. Yet, All the Crooked Saints has been up and down on the reviews. Some of the negative reviews talk about the book not being appropriate because it isn't written in OwnVoice, a new delineation of writing authentically from within one's culture. Stiefvater is not Latina so how can she authentically write from that perspective? I say pish-posh to that criticism. If we took that OwnVoices thing to an extreme no one would be able to authentically write about anyone from an opposite gender or have a cast of multicultural characters in their books. That is silly. I honestly think that Twitter is responsible for this reaction to the book. One bad review and suddenly everyone is afraid to say they like the book. Sigh.
     When asked, Maggie Stiefvater said that her motivation for writing All the Crooked Saints was about 'dubious advice'. She said,
"I wanted to explore the thoughts I’d had over the years about the dubious wisdom of asking obviously flawed people like myself for dubious life advice, and how giving advice changes the advice giver, and how changing yourself for the better sometimes can be done alone and sometimes requires other people."
     I know what she means about dubious advice. Doesn't it always seem to be the case? We ask for help from people who also need help. Ha!
     What I like about All the Crooked Saints is all the magical realism that is used to highlight points. If you aren't comfortable reading magical realism because it confuses you, think about the magic as a literary technique that is showing the reader a truth without being obvious about it. On the the Bicho Raro Ranch all the Sorias are bound up in their own issues so much that they are living very small lives to the point that interacting with the pilgrims is dangerous. When Daniel Soria falls in love with a pilgrim he thinks of it as a death sentence so he wanders off into the desert to die. While in the desert he goes blind. Even as he feels the presence of the curse creeping up on him, he is given water by long dead family members who encourage him on. Now stop and think. Is he really blind? Is really given water by dead people? No. This is the magical part of the story. The reader has to take a moment to see the blindness and the thirst for what it is. He is blind to self and he thirsts for what his ancestors had---normal relations with pilgrims that didn't involve death. See? Reading magical realism is fun. It just takes time to let the brain kick in and help untangle the messages hidden within.
     I listened to the the audiobook of All the Crooked Saints, read by Thom Rivera, a Latino actor. I loved listening to him read. I loved the way he pronounced words with accented English. Coyote (kīˈōtē or kīˌōt) becomes (Coy-yo-tay). It made the listening experience delightful.
     I gave All the Crooked Saints five stars on Goodreads. I loved the whole experience of reading and listening to this book.

Source: Audio CDs checked out from the public library.
All the Crooked Saints, Scholastic Audio. 2017.




Sunday Salon---A Year of Favorites


Tomorrow is 2018. Today is a chance for me to look back at few favorites from 2017.

10. Favorite blooper.
Reporter interrupted by his children. The reporter is talking about serious stuff like North Korea and then his children interrupt him. I laugh and laugh every time I see it.
9. Favorite new food:
Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe-Joe's from Trader Joe's. I've only had two of them but I am certain that I could easily get addicted.  Luckily they are only available during the holidays.


8. Favorite TV Show (We just discovered it):
Outlander, we will finish season 3 tonight


7. Favorite wedding (Well, only wedding but it was so fun and lovely):
Samantha and Basti's wedding. She's my niece.


6. Favorite Broadway show:
"Come From Away". My sister and I visited NYC in early December. We attended six shows. This was my favorite.



5. Favorite family gathering:
Thanksgiving week-end. A lot of the family gathered for a week-end long gathering which included a feast, a tea-party-bridal shower, a football game, and an introduction.


4. Favorite book:
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood


3. Favorite vacation:
China. Don and I spent a week in China with our friends Ken and Carol. What an amazing trip!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, stripes

2. Favorite event
The Big Weekend---Don's retirement event from the Army National Guard. my retirement party, Baby Shower for Dan and Rita.



1. Favorite new person/Favorite event of the whole year:
Our grandson, Ian, born on September 13th. Pure joy.

Favorite gif. See #10.


Saturday, December 30, 2017

My year in books, with the help of Goodreads




Note: I didn't actually read all 900+ pages of the Beatles Biography. I listened to the audiobook and it was only 8 hours long which tells me it was deeply abridged, but Goodreads didn't know that. 

Here is the link to the actual Goodreads page which shows ALL the books I read during 2017.

Here's to reading and books in 2018. If you haven't joined Goodread, it is so fun and easy and helps you keep track of your reading goals throughout the years. And then it is possible to look back and see what you were reading months or years before. I use it every day and really enjoy it. It is free.

Thanks to Deb Nance at ReaderBuzz for the idea of highlighting my Goodreads end-of-the \-year stats. She read WAY more books than me...but then it isn't a competition. Cheers!


Friday, December 29, 2017

Friday Quotes: Goldenhand

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from the book.
Th
e Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56.

Check out the links for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Participants don't select their favorite, coolest, or most intellectual books, they just use the one they are currently reading. This is the book I'm reading right now---



Title: Goldenhand by Garth Nix

Book Beginning:
In the Sixth Precinct, the inexorable current of the river that flowed through Death slowed almost to a stop.
Friday 56:
Lireal flexed the fingers on her golden, Charter-spelled hand and once again regretted Sam's desire to show off his work. Her hand was glowing like a candle, soft behind gold-colored glass. It was warm, and charming, but just too visible for her liking.
Comments: This is the fifth book in the Old Kingdom/Abhorrsen series. I love the first books in it and am just delighted to be back to visiting the old kingdom, again.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A prequel to a wonderful series...La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust #1)

La Belle Sauvage, the first book in a three-part prequel to His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman, is a magical trip back in time and back to a favorite series. It tells the story of baby Lyra, protagonist of the first series, and her rescuer, Malcolm, owner of the little green boat named La Belle Sauvage.

Malcolm, son of the innkeeper in Oxford, becomes interested in Lyra when she is given into the care of the kindly nuns who live across the river from his home. When he witnesses the strange behavior of a man near the convent, Malcolm becomes embroiled in a mystery that is certainly bigger than his young years should have to handle. It puts him right into the path of the dastardly villain, Bonneville, who is determined to kidnap or kill the baby Lyra. When the Thames overflows its boundaries due to a rain storm of the century, Malcolm rescues young Lyra with a crazy plan to float her down the swollen river to safety with her father in London. Little does he know how dangerous the journey would be. Bonneville pursues the small craft with preternatural speed, strength, and resolve. Not surprisingly, Malcolm seems to be guarded by some supernatural beings which allow him to navigate the flooded Thames, with its many obstacles, in relative safety.

La Belle Sauvage isn't just a book with an exciting chase scene, however. In it we meet important characters and concepts from the original series. We are introduced to the golden compass, an alethiometer, which is powered by dust and can determine the answer to a plethora of questions. We meet Lyra's father, a great adventurer, and her mother, a brilliant but decidedly dark individual with motives as yet unknown. We are also reminded about the wonderful daemons, attached to each person, acting as conscience, guide, and protector. Lyra's daemon is Pantalaimon or Pan. Malcolm's daemon is Asta. Neither Asta or Pan have settled yet and can change into a variety of creatures at will. One of the ways that the reader knows that Bonneville is a villain is because he beats his own daemon, a hyena. The daemons play an important role in the story.

One of the things that makes La Belle Sauvage so special is that it quite clearly gives a nod to children's literature that came before it. Set in Oxford, we are left with the feeling that Alice is likely to pop up at any time. And, as you know, C.S. Lewis lived and wrote in Oxford. The adventures into Narnia with the supernatural elements weren't far from my mind as I read this book, too. One cannot embark on a water journey without giving a small nod to the Odyssey. It is as if Pullman wanted his readers to know that this book, this series and his characters fall safely into the confines and rules of good storytelling.

I read His Dark Materials series years ago and LOVED the books. I was always disappointed that I couldn't talk more of my students into reading the series when I was a librarian at a high school library. Perhaps La Belle Sauvage, and the whole The Book of Dust series, will revive an interest in the original series. I certainly hope so. I can't decide if this is a good place to start or if you should start with the Golden Compass, the first book in the His Dark Materials series. Usually I recommend that readers start and read the books in the order that the author wrote them. So I will stick with that advice. Pick up The Gold Compass (US title) or Northern Lights (U.K. title) and be ready for a wonderful and exciting fantasy. And while I am offering advice, let me offer one more suggestion---avoid the movie "The Golden Compass". It is terrible and will put you off from wanting to read the books.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Best Book Club Selections of 2017

2017 Book Club favorites. I am in two book clubs. For this reason sometimes books will end up on my end-of-the-year list more than once. This year I didn't ask the gals in my clubs, SOTH and RHS, for feedback, therefore this list is all mine. Keep in mind I select my favorites based not only on how much I liked the book but also on how well the book generated a discussion. I also factor in an educational aspect. Did I learn something new by reading the book?  If so, bonus points.

1. The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood. This was not only my favorite book club selection of the year, but it was also my favorite book of the year. The story about a boy, his estranged parents, a 104-year-old-woman, and a cast of quirky characters is both heart-warming and heart-breaking at the same time. Everyone in my club liked the book, too, and it generated a fun discussion. (My review)

2. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. When I started this book I wasn't sure it I could bear to read it, it was so bleak about the effects of slavery on two continents. The book is a series of interconnected short stories that are eventually drawn together as the stories set in America and in Africa come together. The writing is exquisite. Part of our discussion focused on the craft of writing. (My review)

3. Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf. This is a perfect book for clubs where the members have a hard time finishing long titles. This book is only 179 pages long. It is written in a very spare-style where there are no wasted words which we all came to appreciate. Part of the discussion centered on what wasn't said by the author. (My review, which includes some discussion questions I wrote)

4. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. Grace is an expected and undeserved gift. This book is full of grace. It starts with a death and a mystery. It is also full of family, community, love, and grief. The ending is so perfect, it should be bottled and sold! 

5. Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach. This was the All-Pierce Reads selection of the year which meant we not only had a book club discussion about the contents of Roach's book but we also attended a community event with the author. If you haven't read books by Roach, I recommend them. They are fascinating and funny at the same time. This book looks at aspects of military science---the cloth used in uniforms, the horrors of diarrhea, where men sleep on a submarine, etc.---aspects one might never have thought about before. She writes clearly but with a strong sense of humor. We had a fairly funny discussion as we attempted to discuss the touchy topics.

6. Commonwealth by Ann Pratchett. This book looks at an event, a baptism party, which changed the trajectory of two different families. We see how the lives of all of the characters are changed as they spin off in different directions. Chapters are written from the different points of views of the characters. We see the same events but from different perspectives.  I love these types of stories, others in the club were frustrated by it. (My review)

7. LaRose by Louise Erdrich. Erdrich is a favorite author of mine. She is Native American and most of her stories are set on a reservation. This book asks and answers the question, "Can a person do the worst possible thing and still be loved?" The tale gave us a lot to chew on during our discussion. Some of the club members didn't like the book as much as I did but we all appreciate Erdrich and her strong writing. (My review)

8. The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. Schwalbe and his mother form a two-person book club to discuss books during the time they spend together during her cancer treatments. It is a book about books and how these books influence our lives and in some cases can change our lives. We get to know Mary Anne and Will during their two years of reading together before her death. During that time she was able to share her dreams, goals, and thoughts with her son. (My review)

9. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. This book BEGS to be discussed which makes it a perfect book club selection. But I should warn you that everyone won't like it because it is confusing. The story begins at Ursula's birth. She dies immediately from lack of oxygen. She is reborn, but this time she is saved. She dies a few years and she is born again with the same circumstances. Every time she dies she starts over. But decisions she makes determine the changes that occur. One sees each story from several angles and the importance of the decisions. Encourage your book club members to read past their frustrations with the non-linear story-telling. It is a delightful read. (My review)

10. This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel. A family deals with the a secret. Their daughter was born a son. How the family deals with the secret ends up nearly destroying them all. It is a very current and important topic. The reason this is number 10 on my list was because I didn't attend the meeting where is was discussed. I wish I could have talked to others about my thoughts. 
_____________________________________________________________
Honorable Mention:

11. Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink. What happened in a hospital during and after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. It was horrifying. The book is also very long, 558 pages. No one liked the book at all but we had a tremendous book discussion.

If you are in a book club, what were your favorite discussion books this year?

Look for more suggestions?  Click the links to check out my past lists

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve, Candlelight Service
Weather: It's snowing! We are having a White Christmas!

Today: Christmas. We plan on driving up toward Mt. Rainier to have dinner with our daughter and her in-laws. But the weather may have other ideas.

View of our front garden. Snow and lights.

Our backyard, photo taken this morning, Christmas day. And more snow is falling.

Yesterday: We had a family celebration here with a ham dinner. Our grandson and his parents came over after church and we spent the day together eating, opening gifts, and enjoying each other's company. Then they had to run to prepare for another church service and a party with our son-in-law's family. It had just started snowing. No one thought it would amount to much. A trip that usually takes 45 minutes, took nearly two hours, so they missed church. They said they saw 17 cars in ditches. We don't know how to drive in snow around here!

Our grandson and his parents. Ian is wearing a tuxedo!

News from our area: This week we had a train derailment in our area, between here and Olympia where Don works. It happened as a train was approaching a bridge over the freeway. The accident crippled traffic in the area for three days. It just so happens that there is no good drive-around route from that spot. Don had to work from home for three days. It unfortunately coincided with our Internet going down. At one point he gave up, took some vacation time, and went Christmas shopping.  Here is a computer simulation of the accident:



Right now: The Hallelujah Chorus is playing on the stereo. A sign that Christmas festivities are getting ready to start around here.  Merry Christmas!!!

Silent night, holy night!
Son of God love's pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth


Friday, December 22, 2017

Friday Quotes, December 22nd

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from the book.
Th
e Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56.

Check out the links for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Participants don't select their favorite, coolest, or most intellectual books, they just use the one they are currently reading. This is the book I'm reading right now---



Title: My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

Book Beginnings:
'Boo, hoo! Ow,ow; Oh! oh! Me'll die. Boo, hoo. The pain, the pain! Boo, hoo.'
Friday 56:
I was not sufficiently ill to be miserable, and being a pampered invalid was therefore fine fun.
Comments: The narrator of this very Australian story is Sybylla, as was the author. It is set in the outback where life is very tough and the advantages very few. Sybylla doesn't fit with her family. She is always pining for something more, something brilliant to do with her life. It was first published in 1901.

I am reading this book as part of my Classics Club reads and it was the spin book chosen for the month. I've long wanted to read My Brilliant Career because my mother used to tell me that I reminded her of Sybylla. Having seen the movie, I thought she meant that I was like Sybylla because we both had frizzy hair. Now I wonder if she meant that I was always the most dissatisfied of my siblings, always dreaming and striving, like the narrator. I honestly don't know what she meant by the comparison. So far, I'm about 40% completed, I like the book but it is certainly set in Australia using words and locations I am not familiar with.


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sunday Salon, Dec. 17, 2017

Ian, our grandson, is playing with grandpa.
Weather: cold and wet, it is either raining or threatening to rain.

End of the year in books: Every year at this time I put together a bunch of lists: favorites, best books for books clubs, and just lists of other other publication's list. Here are links (click on hyperlinks) to my End of the Year in Books blog post; my list of  best books lists; my favorite books of the year; and another end of the year meme. I will be putting together a list of my favorite book club selections soon. Stay tuned.

Home for the holidays: Our daughter made it home from New York on Friday. It is beginning to feel like Christmas will happen this year.

Outlander series: my husband and I have been bingeing on the Outlander series. Season three just ended for most folks but we are still watching season two. It makes us want to visit Scotland.

Christmas cookies: I made Pfeffernuse cookies earlier this month. I love those tiny, crunchy cookies with their anise flavor. Carly and Rita are making ginger bread cookies today to use Carly's new cookie stamp. Last week I tried Italian Anise cookies...there's that anise again, but I think everyone agrees that maybe too much anise is not desirable. Today I made a batch of sugar cookies for a church project. Nothing like making cookies at 7:30 AM. Needless to say, they were not fancy. I;m guessing that we will make a least one more kind, perhaps spritz cookies so we can use the cookie gun, or yummy peanut butter blossoms. What are your favorite Christmas cookies?
Snapdragon blooming in December, growing out of the brick.

Silly flower: We have a snapdragon flower growing out of our brickwork and it is blooming. It has snowed. We have had freezing temperatures. It seems undaunted.

Cybils update: This week the other judges and I will meet in a google chat and hopefully decide the books we want to move forward as our short list. I've rechecked the books that made our long list and have been reviewing them. I've read all of those books but one and I should be able to finish that book in time for our discussion on Wednesday. It has been a demanding yet rewarding experience and I am ready to hand off the responsibility to round 2 judges soon. Here is a link to the post where I talked about my favorites. These books may or may not make it to the next round.

Currently reading:

  • The 57 Bus---a nonfiction book that is being talked about in the blogosphere. I hope to write up a review of it soon.
  • My Brilliant Career---my Classics club spin book. Honestly I haven't been reading this book with all the nonfiction I have been working on. I will have to put on the gas to finish it by the goal date of December 31st.
On my early 2018 reading list:
  • Far From the Tree by Benway---the National Book Award title for YA literature and a Mock Printz 2018 selection.
  • Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks by Annie Spence. I've ordered the audiobook from the library.
  • The Lost History of Stars by Dave Boling...the next book for my book club.
Things I loved this week---
  • Carly is home for a month!
  • Ian has visited us twice. His laughter when Grandpa talks like a duck.
  • The annual Cantata at church
  • The finalists for "The Voice": Brooke, Chloe, Red, Addison
  • The siding is on the house, painted and looks great.
Have a good week!


Friday, December 15, 2017

End of the Year. A year in books.

Hosted at Perpetual Page Turner


Number Of Books I Read: 156 (so far)
Number of Re-Reads: 2
Genre You Read The Most From: YA (is that a genre?)

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?

This is a hard one but I guess the book I told the most people to read because I loved it so much: The One-In-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

2. Book You Were Excited About and Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

 Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure by Ryan North. Instead of being funny, I thought it was stupid.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

 Ordinary Grace by William Krueger

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

YA Fiction: The Hate U Give
Adult Fiction: The One-In-A Million Boy
YA Nonfiction: A Dog in the Cave
Adult Nonfiction: Lab Girl  

5. Best series you in 2017?

Started: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor AND La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman; Mid series: Thick As Thieves by Megan Whelan Turner (5th book in the Queen of Attolia series)

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

Kent Haruf (Our Souls at Night)

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Bull by David Elliott---Greek Mythology, written in verse.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Thick As Thieves by Megan Whelan Turner. It was the first book of the year I just couldn't stop reading. The adventure and the action were tense but not over-the-top.

9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?


It is pretty unlikely I will reread any of the books I read this year.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?

Loving v. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case by Patricia Powell

11. Most memorable character of 2017?

The boy (un-named) in The One-In-A-Million Boy

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?

Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

“Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.” ― Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

“Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.” ― Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

16.Shortest and Longest Book You Read In 2017?

Longest: The Big Rock Candy Mountain by Wallace Stegner, 563 pages

Shortest: And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, 32 pages

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor...it left the reader on a huge cliff-hanger!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
Sarai and Lazlo Strange in Strange the Dreamer.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Charlie Dean and John Thomas in The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

YA: John Green (Turtles All the Way Down)
Adult: Sherman Alexie (You Don't Have To Say You Love Me)

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

I can't think of any books that someone pressured me to read, but I read books for book clubs which I probably wouldn't have read if not for the club. Here are few book club titles I really enjoyed
The One-In-A-Million Boy
Our Souls At Night
Ordinary Grace
The End of Your Life Book Club
Life After Life

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?

Um..m---can't think of any crushes on characters this year.

23. Best 2017 debut you read?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor...I could picture everything and it was wild!

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was the Most FUN to Read?

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. This is a reread for me. Ha ha. What fun!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found by Martin Sandler.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Locked Up for Freedom: Civil Rights Protesters at the Leesburg Stockade by Heather Schwartz

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

The Shakespeare Timeline Wallbook by Christopher Lloyd

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

The March Against Fear by Ann Bashum, the last big march of the Civil Rights era.


1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017?

I'm terrible of keeping track of these things.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2017?

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

An announcement with the help of poetry --- how I announced my retirement
Farewell to Muffy with a look at the literature. --- Written the day we put our beloved dog down.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

Cavalcade of Authors West in University Place, Washington.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?

Being asked to be a Cybils Judge because of my book blogging.  I am just finishing up on role as a round 1 judge for junior high/senior high nonfiction books.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

I had a really hard time writing reviews this year. I am so far behind of where I want to be with my reviews that i get really frustrated. But then I have to do some self=talk and remind myself that I need not pressure myself. I am doing this at my own volition, so why add stress to myself?


7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Saying Goodbye to a Friend ---598 views, 25 comments written after the death of my high school friend.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

The Plot Against America---a cautionary tale
Actually, this post had a lot of views, but not a lot of comments. I wish I knew what people thought when they read it. I compared Trump to Charles Lindbergh.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Once again, I didn't keep track of them.


10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Yes. I finished and made progress on several challenges:
a. To Read all the YMA Winners---100% complete
b. To read all the Printz Award and Honor books of the year --- 80% complete
c. The Big Book Summer Challenge --- Read three books. 
d. Pulitzer Challenge --- read the current winner and make progress on past winners list. Read two.
e. Read Classics Club list ---- Read three classics.

1. One Book I Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be My Number 1 Priority in 2018?

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway ---- The National Book Award Winner for Young People's Literature

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?

I haven't paid attention. Sigh.

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

See above answer.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?

I am looking forward to reading the next book in the Book of Dust series by Pullman AND the second book in the Strange the Dreamer series.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?

OK. Let's see if I can commit to reviewing at least half of the books I read. I'll try that.