"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=========

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Review and quotes: PRINCESS BRIDE

Title: The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure (30th Anniversary edition) by William Goldman

Book Beginnings quote: 

This is my favorite book in the world, though I have never read it.

Friday56 quote: 

Clearly, something about the farm boy interested her. Facts were facts. But what? The farm boy had eyes like the sea before a storm, but who cared about eyes?

Summary: It seems that anyone who has lived in the latter half of the twentieth century or the first decades of the twenty-first century knows about 'The Princess Bride', not from the book but from the movie. It is a movie which has a cult-like following. It is probably more popular today than when it was first released in 1987. I swear that my daughters can repeat almost every line from the film along with the correct accents of the characters.

The book was written by William Goldman who inserted himself into the story, making it feel like all the bits not related to the actual Princess Bride story were nonfiction. Goldman was a screen writer who knew how to take a novel and rewrite it into a movie script. He also wrote the original screenplays for several very well-known films, such as 'Marathon Man' and 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid'. But none of his film scripts were as beloved as the one he wrote for his own book, The Princess Bride, which was originally published in 1973.

The book is more complicated than the movie of course. In it fictional Goldman was the child whose father read The Princess Bride to him when he was a child. He loved it so much, but never actually read it himself. Therefore it was a shock to him when he gave it to his own son and the boy thought the book was boring. Not until then did fictional Goldman know that his father had only read him the good bits of Princess Bride, authored by S. Morgenstern of Florian, skipping all the boring and tedious historical parts. At this point he decides he must edit the original, leaving only the good, adventure and love parts.

Review: The book is genius. First I kept getting confused. Was Goldman really a screen writer? Yes. Did he just edit the book which was actually written by S. Morgenstern? No. The confusion was part of the fun. I loved the whole thing. I was so familiar with the details of the movie, it was fun to learn that it was only half of the story. The Princess Bride is as much about Goldman and S. Morgenstern as it is about Westley and Buttercup. Who knew?

And then the bonus. The novel I read was the 30th anniversary edition. In it Goldman wrote a forward about the book, which was all part of the ruse. Oh, what fun (and additional confusion). But at the end of the book I got to read the first chapter of 'Buttercup's Baby', an original story written by Goldman, not Morgenstern. See? He is still having his way with us. Brilliant.

For fans of the movie, I highly recommend you take the time to read the novel now.

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from current book.
e Friday56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56 to share. 

Visit these two websites to participate. Click on links to read quotes from books other people are reading. It is a great way to make blog friends and to get suggestions for new reading material.   

Happy New Year, Y'all!


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2020 End-of-the-Year Book Survey


2020 End-of-the-year
book survey
  • Number of books read and completed: 142
  • Number of re-reads: 8
  • Genre you read the most: Literary fiction, at least I think so. This year was a very strange year for me as far as reading selections. I found myself reading lots of poetry and more essays and short stories compared to other years.
  • Number of books started but not finished: 20
  • Number of children's books read: 29
  • Number of poetry books read or reread: 17
  • Number of memoirs and nonfiction books read: 55
Reading Survey:
(Click on book title if you want to read my review of it.)
1. Best Book You Read In 2020?
2. Book You Were Excited About and Thought You Were Going To Love, But Didn’t?
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? 
4. Book You “Pushed” the Most People to Read (And They Did)?
  • I didn't do any book pushing this year, unless you count me pestering my husband until he read (and finished) Lonesome Dove.

5. Best series you started in 2020?

  •  Bill Hodges Trilogy by Stephen King
Best Sequel of 2020?

Best Series Ender of 2020? 

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2020?
  •  Jenny Offill (author of Weather)
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
9. Favorite Book Club Selection Based On the Discussion?
  •  Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler. It was such a strange year with book clubs meeting over Zoom calls or shivering outside on the porch, wearing masks. I liked this book and thought everyone contributed to the conversation.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2020?
11. Most memorable character of 2020?
  • Augustus McCrae from Lonesome Dove
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2020
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2020
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read?
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2019?
  • “It’s a particular kind of pleasure, of intimacy, loving a book with someone.”
    Lily King, Writers & Lovers
16. Shortest and Longest Book You Read In 2020?
  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, longest, 858 pages
  • Mittens by Clare T. Newberry, shortest, 28 pages
17. Book Which Shocked You The Most
18. Best Audiobook I Listened to in 2020
  • Fiction: Weather by Jenny Offill
  • Nonfiction: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
19. Favorite JH and SH Nonfiction Books I Read In My Role as a Cybils Judge
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2020 from an Author You’ve Read Previously
21. Best Book You Read In 2020 Which Was Based SOLELY On a Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2020?

  •  Westley, the hero in Princess Bride by William Goldman
23. Best 2020 debut you read?
24. Best World-building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
25. Book Which Put a Smile on Your Face/Was the Most FUN to Read?
26. Book Which Made You Cry or Nearly Cry in 2020?
27. Hidden Gem of the Year? There are several:
28. Anything odd about this year's reading list? 
  •  2020 was such a strange, surreal year. I found it difficult to settle on reading and on particular books. If they were too serious, long, difficult, trite, or silly I just set them aside and didn't finish them. I had at least 20 books that I started but did not finish.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2020?
30. Book Which Made You Angry (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
  • A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America by Rucker and Leonnig
31. Favorite poetry or short story collection: 
32. Favorite classic book read during the year:
33. One Book You Didn’t Read In 2020 Which Will Be a Top Priority in 2020?
  • Fiction--- Ready, Player Two by Ernest Cline
  • Nonfiction--- A Promised Land by Barack Obama
  • YA/Junior/Children's--- The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein
  • Classic--- Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Poetry/Essays: Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine 

34. Bookish goals for 2021

  •  Complete the tasks set before me as a Cybils book award judge (Jan. 1st to Feb. 14th.)
  • Write reviews for all book club selections.
  •  My one book I hope to read is the first Discworld novel: The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett.
  • Read two of the five National Book Award winners.
  • Read the Pulitzer Prize winner for literature.

Blogging survey:

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2020?
This is embarrassing to admit, but I am terrible about remembering site names of blogs I visit.

2. Favorite reviews that you wrote in 2020?
3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
  Book club on my back porch after a three month hiatus where we didn't meet at all.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2020?
My Sunday Salon posts became quite political as my concern over what the Trump campaign was up to. I heard from many of my readers, supporting my point-of-view.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
I was pretty distracted for most of the year with politics and COVID/lockdown concerns. Though I continued blogging I completed far fewer book reviews than usual.

7. Most Popular Post This Year on Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? None.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
  •  I've read 140+of my reading goal of 100 books this year.
  • My Own Personal National Book Award Challenge---to read at least two of the winners for the past ten years.  I have not read the 2020 National Book Award winners yet.
  • Read the Pulitzer Prize winner: The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. DONE!
  • Read all the 2020 Printz winners, the award book and the honor books. I read 3 of 5. 
      • Dig by A.S. King- Award
      • The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi- Honor
      • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki- Honor
      • Ordinary Hazards: a Memoir by Nikki Grimes-Honor
      • Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean- Honor
  • Classics Club Spins. I completed only completed two classic books this year. I signed up for one additional Classics Spin but didn't even crack open my selection.
    • So Big by Edna Ferber---completed.
    • East of Eden by John Steinbeck---completed.
  • To read Big Books as part of the Big Book Summer Challenge. I read five this summer of over 400 pages in length.
  • Audiobook Challenge: I signed up to listen to 42 audiobooks in 2020, I actually only managed 33 (which is good considering I spent next to no time in the car this year compaired to other years.
  • I completed my one big reading goal of the year: to read Lonesome Dove!

-Gratefully turning the page over on 2020.


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

TTT: Favorite books of 2020

 Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite books read in 2020

Honestly, this list is just a list of books I liked. There were few standouts this year except Lonesome Dove, which dominated the whole year after my husband and I both read it and then watched the mini-series, and The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, which is by far my favorite above all books this year. All other books I liked enough to recommend. It was such a strange year, as you all know, and my reading choices reflected this strangeness. As you see, only five novels made my top seventeen books, normally my list would be populated with them. 

1. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy (Illustrated, inspirational)

2. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (Memoir; audiobook)

3. Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder (Graphic memoir)

4. Close to Birds: An intimate Look at  Our Fine Feathered Friends by Mats Ottosson (Photography)

5. Stamped by Jason Reynolds (YA, black history, anti-racism, e-book)

6. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtrey (Western novel)

7. The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman (YA novel, #2 in The Book of Dust series; audiobook)

8. Letters of Note compiled by Shaun Usher (Letters and correspondence)

9. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (Poetry and essays, e-book)

10. The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Revised history novel, magical realism)

11. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (Thriller/mystery novel, audiobook)

12. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Literary fiction, audiobook)

13. Playlist: Rebels and Revolutionaries of Sound by James Rhodes (Music and musicians)

14. How We Got to the Moon by John Rocco (Illustrated, history)

15. The Honeybee by Candace Fleming (Children's nonfiction)

16. The Velocity of Being by Maria Popova (Letters to young readers in the future)

17. Some Writer: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet (Junior Biography, illustrated)


Sunday, December 27, 2020

Sunday Salon, Still 2020

2020 Christmas season

Weather: Pretty rotten. We took the dog for a walk yesterday during a crease between rainstorms. We didn't walk fast enough and we got quite wet. Later we headed for the hot tub but had to put on the brakes when we noticed it had started raining again.

Family News:

1. Happy days after Christmas! We hosted Christmas Eve this year for our small family which included our married daughter and her family. Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a three-year-old is so fun. Ian wanted to stop and read or play with all his new items. None of this open gifts one right after the other. Christmas day was just the three of us attempting to follow a few traditions like eating crepes for breakfast and playing the Hallelujah Chorus as the sign it is time to come downstairs to begin the festivities of the day. 

2. Midday we Zoomed with my whole family in four different states and three different countries. We chatted for over an hour. At one point we all showed off our pets. That was a funny moment.

3. Carly has taught herself to crochet. Overnight it seems she has turned into an expert which meant we had to make a last minute gift decision to drive to Tacoma to find a store that sells fibers and yarns. After all the clutter was cleared away Christmas day she just wanted to sit down and begin her new creation with the yarn we bought her. 

Carly displaying her crocheted items: Harry Potter and Dobie; a coffee cup cozy holder; a head scarf; neck scarf. All completed in one week from zero skills to quite accomplished.

4. We tried, but failed, to view the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction. Dec. 21st it was terrible cloudy and rainy so there was no hope that night of seeing the heavenly event. The next night was clear but we didn't start looking for it right at sundown and even though we drove to several different sites to attempt a clear view, we missed the conjunction as it slipped below the horizon. This site has some of my favorite images I found on-line: DW. Take a look.

5. Books: I finished High Achiever by Tiffany Jenkins. It is our book club selection for January. As a memoir of a woman's addiction I found it to less than credible. Looking at Goodreads reviews, I am not the only one. I bet a lot of gals won't read it or won't finish it for club. We, as a family, read two favorite Christmas books: The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog; and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Every year we read these yet I still laugh and cry my way through them. It's looking like I won't finish Ready, Player Two in 2020. Oh well, reading knows no reading boundaries.

 And this...

1. The truth in black and white. The Kansas City Star newspaper makes a public apology for its years of racist reporting. "For 140 years, it has been one of the most influential forces in shaping Kansas City and the region. And yet for much of its early history — through sins of both commission and omission — it disenfranchised, ignored and scorned generations of Black Kansas Citizens. It reinforced Jim Crow laws and redlining. Decade after early decade it robbed an entire community of opportunity, dignity, justice and recognition."(KSS)

2. The Lt. Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, said he'd pay a reward for evidence of voter fraud. The Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania said he found some: three people who committed fraud for Trump in his state. Now he wants TX Dan Patrick to pay up the $3 M. Ha! Good one! (Houston Chronicle)

3. It feels a little like we are finally getting to the Return of the Jedi episode after enduring The Empire Strikes Back for the past month-and-a-half since the election. Finally the tables are turning. "An election worker at Dominion Voting Systems filed a lawsuit Tuesday against President Trump, his lawyers and conservative media networks, among others, for spreading false conspiracy theories that he says forced him into hiding." (Axios)

4. The Anne Frank Memorial was vandalized in Idaho with swastikas and the words, "we are everywhere." Within a day, crowd funding raised nearly $20,000 to go toward repairs of the statue and in support of human rights.

5. Shelter dogs picking out their Christmas gifts.

6. Cool, just cool. Watch and be amazed.

7.  Merry Christmas from Champ and Major Biden. (Can you tell that I love dogs?) (YouTube)

And then this...funnies that I missed earlier in 2020....








8. I had to think about this one for a few minutes...





That's it folks. I hope my blog has brought you a bit of solace in 2020. Now we look forward to a better 2021. See you then!