The Best Sequel of 2017

“Best Sequel I Read” is the prompt for day 3 of the “All the Books of 2017” challenge hosted by @annreads on Instagram.. This year’s best was Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling. I’m enjoying a slow, leisurely re-reading of the Harry Potter series, and this time around, I absolutely loved The Prisoner of Azkaban! It was just so much fun!

My favorite quote from the book is, of course, “…when in doubt, go to the library.” But the former teacher in me also got a big kick out of this quote:

History of Magic was the dullest subject on their schedule. Professor Binns, who taught it, was their only ghost teacher, and the most exciting thing that ever happened in his classes was his entering the room through the blackboard. Ancient and shriveled, many people said he hadn’t noticed he was dead. He had simply got up to teach one day and left his body behind him in an armchair in front of the staffroom fire; his routine had not varied in the slightest since.

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The Shortest Book of 2017

Shortest book I read in 2017” is the prompt for day 2 of the “All the Books of 2017” challenge hosted by @annreads on Instagram. I looked closely at my list of books read so far in 2017 and found that the book I posted about yesterday, We Should All Be Feminists, was actually the shortest one I read this year. So instead, I am posting about the second shortest book.

Ajax Penumbra 1969, by Robin Sloan, is the prequel to the very popular Mr. Penumbra’s 24- Bookstore, a book which has been on my TBR list for years! But when I realized there was a prequel, I decided to read that first, and then the novel. I enjoyed both books, but actually liked the prequel better.  I think the reason for that is that 1969 was a very important year in my own life — my husband and I got married in 1969!  So I got a real kick out of the time setting of this book, as well as the location setting — 1969 in San Francisco. We were there!

These are both books for book lovers, and both are very enjoyable reads.

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All the Books of 2017

 

A new challenge appeared on Instagram this morning, and I thought it looked like a lot of December fun! It’s called “All the Books of 2017” and is created and hosted by Ann, from @annreads on Instagram. So I will be posting for the next 15 days on the books I’ve read so far in 2017.

Prompt #1 is the “first read of the year.”  My first read of 2017 was an intelligent little book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists, and was a great book to start out the new year. It was a very positive and important book, and I think should be required reading for everyone! Click here to watch her presentation of the book on Ted Talks.

Christmas in Plains

I’ve begun my annual reading of Christmas books/stories/poems, and this morning read one that has been on my TBR list forever! Christmas in Plains, by our former president, Jimmy Carter, was a delightful way to spend my morning. Here’s my review from Goodreads:

This was a very pleasant book to read on this foggy Saturday morning. While I enjoyed President Carter’s memories of Christmases over the years, I was most appreciative of the reminder of what a real president is like — a person who is kind and caring to all, someone who is dedicated to peace and unity throughout the world, a leader who believes in solving problems through diplomacy and negotiation and who has respect for all cultures and differences.

A heartfelt THANK YOU to President Carter for sharing these memories. And a very Merry Christmas this year to President and Mrs. Carter, and their family.

A Christmas in Plains…

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Autumn Reading

My blogging dropped off the radar again during September and October, but my reading continued! Life was rich during those months with family and many outdoor activities. Our Grandson and his mother were able to resume normal life again after the awful fire in the Columbia River Gorge was *mostly* contained.  My daughter and I traveled to Utah to visit my 98-year-old mother. I spent a lot of time outdoors in our beautiful autumn weather either walking or gardening!  I participated in three 5k races (walking, not running since my knee injury last year). Our gardening project of preparing and planting a Butterfly Garden took a tremendous amount of time and energy. So when coming inside from all my outside activities, it just felt good to sit in the recliner with my feet up and read a good book. My blog posts are long overdue, but I’m here to catch up a bit and share with you my reading enjoyment of the last few months.

Books read in September and October:

My Favorite Autumn Read:

I really enjoy reading each of these books, but I particularly enjoyed the little book, A Month in the Country, by J.L. Carr. It was short, beautifully written, and very moving!

My Least Favorite Autumn Read:

Perhaps I just wasn’t in the mood for this one, but my least favorite Autumn read was Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey! This is the only Jane Austen I haven’t loved, and I’m not sure exactly why! I’ll have try it again, perhaps in the wintertime, so that I can figure out what it is that bothers me about it and why I don’t love it like her other works.

Rereading the Harry Potter Series:

I am loving this re-read of the entire Harry Potter series!! It will take me a long time to complete this project because I’m just reading a little bit each day, enjoying immersing myself in that magical world, not hurrying through it at all.

Favorite Quotes from my Autumn Reading:

“But why’s she got to go to the library?” “Because that’s what Hermione does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.”
~from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling

I leaned back on my elbows and basked in the warming spring sun. There was a curious peace in this day, a sense of things working quietly in their proper courses, nothing minding the upsets and turmoils of human concerns. Perhaps it was the peace that one always finds outdoors, far enough away from buildings and clatter. Maybe it was the result of gardening, that quiet sense of pleasure in touching growing things, the satisfaction of helping them thrive.
~from Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon

Conflagration

Photo by Tristan Fortsch (Click on the photo to follow the link to a news article about the fire.)

Those of us living in the greater Portland, Oregon, area are grieving the loss to fire of so much natural beauty in our beloved Columbia River Gorge. Although my husband and I live 75 miles west of where this devastating fire started, our air is filled with ash and smoke.  And although we live 75 miles away, this fire hits very close to home and is very personal.

Our grandson and his mother live just across the river from where the fire started, and have had to leave their home and take refuge with us and with friends for the time being. Our grandson’s school is closed indefinitely. We are grateful that they are safe, and so very grateful to all the people that are working to contain the fire and to help all those whose lives are in upheaval due to this fire. There are many heroes in this story.

But it breaks my heart to think of what this sensitive 10 year old will see when he and his mom return home. The views he loves to look at out his bedroom window are now forever altered. It feels like Life is now forever altered.

Conflagration.

August Reflections

I had a wonderful August this year!  August is usually one of my least favorite months because of the intense and constant heat. But despite record-breaking heat in our area, I loved the month!  It was full of family — extended time with our grandson, and a family reunion in celebration of my mother’s 98th birthday. We enjoyed travel, gardening projects, 5K races, and watching the awesome total eclipse of the sun! And when it wasn’t too smoky in our area (due to the many wildfires!), I loved the daily views on my walks and drives through this gorgeous part of Oregon.

My reading time was limited, but I did enjoy 4 different books during the month. My favorite book of the month was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I am rereading the series just for fun and as an antidote to the misery of the daily news. I also reread Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, which is my least favorite of her books…still. A refreshing and delightful read was of Philippa Pearce’s The Way to Sattin Shore. And a fascinating library book was The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures. It was a fun book and brought back many memories, including a memory of volunteering in the school library at my junior high school –typing cards for the catalog!

So, I just have to say that August turned out to be a delightful month for me overall. I am now 5 books “behind schedule” with my Goodreads goal for the year, but that’s totally okay. The special memories from this delightful month of August will warm me through many cold winter months ahead.

A Book Obsession

 

I have a confession to make… I have a serious book obsession. Gardening books are my passion these days and I keep finding treasures that I must have on my shelf!

When we retired and moved to Oregon, we culled our book collections and donated many many books to the local library. Also with retirement, my book buying has slacked off considerably, except for ebooks and audiobooks. But when I see a lovely gardening book, I can’t help myself. My collection is growing, and the photo above is of the two shelves I started out with, but it has already taken over another shelf in this bookcase. Yes, I’m reading them … slowly … but I love looking through them, and love learning and dreaming about gardens.

My 2016 vegetable garden…

A Summer of Reading

Woman Reading, by Frederick Childe Hassam

For me, this has been a summer of reading! While my blogging lagged, my reading continued and has been a real pleasure. I often copy down quotes that resonate with me from the books I’m reading, so I thought I’d share with you a few of those summer favorites so you can see where my reading journey has taken me.

“The house was refreshingly peaceful, and I pottered about enjoying my leisure and solitude. It is deeply satisfying to me, after spending so much of my time among a number of energetic young people, to hear the clink of a hot coal and the whisper of flames  in my own chimney, the purring of Tibby delighting in company, and the chiming of the clock on the mantelpiece.”
~ from Storm in the Village, by Miss Read

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“Far above the Ephel Dúath in the West the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
~ from The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien

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“The truth.” Dumbledore sighed. “It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”
~ from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling

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“At the very beginning, anticipatory obedience means adapting instinctively, without reflecting, to a new situation.”
~ from On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, by Timothy Snyder

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“To those who will decide if he should be tried for ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ -the House of Representatives-
And to those who would sit in judgment at such a trial if the House impeaches -the Senate-
And to the man who would preside at such an impeachment trial -the Chief Justice of the United States, Warren Burger-
And to the nation…
The President said, ‘I want you to know that I have no intention whatever of ever walking away from the job that the American people elected me to do for the people of the United States.’
~ from All the President’s Men, by Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward”

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“She could teach them to face whatever came with calmness and courage, to love their families and their friends with unswerving loyalty, and to relish the lovely face of the countryside in which they lived.”
~ from Miss Clare Remembers, by Miss Read

What Happened to May?

What happened to May? It just flew by for me in a rush of travel, gardening, visits with family and meeting with old/new friends, 5k races, and unfortunately, spending evenings being completely sucked into the news of the day. It was overall a lovely month and especially nice to have some sunshine and warmth arrive after such a long winter and wet spring!

During May, both my reading and blogging took back seat to all the other activities. However, I did manage to finish reading 4 books, two of them mysteries by Donna Leon, and I’m getting close to the end of my rereading of J.R.R. Tolkien’s, The Lord of the Rings.

Welcome June! I’m looking forward to getting back to my books this month and to being able to read them on the front porch!