Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Year in Reading

I just finished my last book of this year and finished up my last two reading challenges. I have been signing up for several challenges for next year and am waiting do see if the following are offered next year:  Books in Translation, Southern Lit, and Nonfiction (all at this blog). I did a different nonfiction challenge this year, but the blog for that one has been deleted. The same was true for a feminist reading challenge I did this past year. No word either on the Eclectic Challenge that has been offered by this blog, or the Gothic one started by this one last year.  If none of these are offered, so be it, but maybe there will be something similar to each of these. We'll see. It remains to be seen how many more I'll sign up for, though I have seen some I've not been interested in doing.

Here is how many books and pages I read this year, from Goodreads:


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My longest and shortest books of the year:

Llama Llama Sand and Sun by Anna Dewdney
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10 pages
Llama Llama Sand and Sun
943 pages
The Pillars of the Earth

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

people also read
To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
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person also read
Wolf Dreamer of the Longest Nigh...

By far my favorite of the year was (If I ever decide to re-read something, this will be one of them, if not the only one). This was very relatable to me. Those who have been reading my blog this past year will that this book inspired me to write my own story of depression and getting onto Prozac. Still working on it; in February, it will be a year since I started.

Prozac Nation

My first read for 2017 will be determined tomorrow.

Poetry Reading Challenge 2017

Another favorite  challenge of mine is up for 2017. I will be doing the highest level.

  • Haiku Level: read 1 book of poetry or 20 poems
  • Cinquain Level: Read 2 books of poetry, 40 poems
  • Sonnet Level: Read 3 books of poetry, 60 poems
  • Rondeau Level: Read 4 books of poetry, 80 poems
  • Villanelle Level: Read 5-10 books of poetry, 100 poems
If you want to challenge yourself this year, feel free to try a new form of poetry — Sonnets, Haiku, Pastoral, Limerick, Elegy, Tanka, Ghazal, Epic, and others.

My books:
  1. The Epic of Gilgamesh
  2. The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens
  3. I Got the Rhythm--Connie Schofield-Morrison
  4. Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer--Carole Boston Weatherford
  5. Once There Were Giants--Martin Waddell
  6. The Giving Tree--Shel Silverstein
  7. Topsy Turvy--Monika Meisner
  8. Out of the Dust--Karen Hesse
  9. Nothing--Robin Friedman

Friday, December 30, 2016

2017 Creativity Reading Challenge

I decided to try this one because I think it goes well with my writing and because I'm trying to come up with ideas for my work's art class. Since there are no levels, I will try to get at least five books. Sign up here.

I am dedicating 2017 to becoming more creative in my life! In order to do that I need some inspiration. I decided to create the Creativity Reading Challenge to help inspire me.

This challenge is about reading books on creativity, art, crafts, writing, film making, photography, cosmetology, DIY, cooking, and any other topic that helps you live a more creative life.

To get you started, here is a list of my Top Ten Books on Creativity.

The Rules:

  • This challenge begins January 1, 2017 and ends Dec 31, 2017. 
  • You may sign up anytime during the year. 
  • I won't be creating different levels. Read as little or as many books as you want.
  • Books may be nonfiction, memoir, how to, self help, coffee table books, instructional, picture books, and even fictional if they are about people who are creative.
  • You may include books of any format including traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks
  • You may reread books. 

    • Books may count towards other reading challenges.

    My books for this one:

    Thursday, December 29, 2016


    Found this new one I want to try. I will try for the first level, and see if I go over. Sign up here.

    Paper cut of heart on old book

    Welcome to the 2017 New Adult Reading Challenge. I participated in one of these a couple of years ago and haven’t been able to find one since so I decided to create one myself. I love reading books that focus on older teens/young adults and wanted to challenge myself to discover more in this genre. I hope you will join me.

    The challenge will begin on January 1, 2017 and end on December 31, 2017.

    As with most challenges I do have some guidelines to follow

    1. Any books read for this challenge must be New Adult. If you’re not sure what that is you can read the Goodreads definition here, as well find lists of examples. Once you choose a level you’re locked in for at least that amount. However, you may go up a level if you choose.

    These are the levels.

    Level 1 – Read 1-10

    Level 2 – Read 11-20

    Level 3 – Read 21-30

    Level 4 – Read 31-40

    Level 5 – Read 41-50

    Level 6 – Read 50+

    2. The book can be of any sub-genre (paranormal, romance, etc.) as long as the New Adult theme is prevalent.

    3. Challenge runs from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017.

    4. You may make a list of books at the beginning of the challenge or you can just list them as you find them.

    5. Book titles may be swapped out at anytime if you made a list at the beginning.

    6. Crossovers with other challenges are permitted and encouraged.

    7. You don’t have to have a blog or write a review unless you want to.
 If you don’t have a blog or somewhere to keep track, post in the comments that you’d like to join.

    8. Books can be in any format of your choice (print, audio, ebooks).

    9. To sign up, use the Mister Linky below. Reviews and wrap posts links will be posted later.

    10. Links provided must be linked to this specific challenge such as a blog post or Goodreads shelf. Please don’t leave a link to the blog homepage or any other generalized link. If you list all of your challenges in one post as I usually do that is okay.

    Enjoy and have fun!

    Here is what I am reading:

    1. The Sky is Everywhere--Jandy Nelson
    2. Just One Year--Gayle Forman

    Wednesday, December 28, 2016

    Another Year About to End...

    Where has the year gone? Only three more days till we say goodbye to 2016.

    It has been quite a year for me.  Beginning a new job and starting to writing a memoir have been my two biggest achievements for me this year.  I've also gotten a new computer after using an outdated one for over 10 years!  So glad to have been able to do that. On a sad note, I thought my story was lost and gone forever, thanks to the new computer, and the fact that AppleWorks had been replaced by Pages for Macintosh users. But  I had saved it as PDF on the old computer to send by e-mail, so I downloaded the story and copied it from the PDF into Pages. I needed to do a lot editing and reformatting, but at least I got the bones of what I had originally written and have been adding and revising. It will be year next February since I began the process. I'll see how much longer it will take me.

    My writing class at work hasn't been well attended, but we'll see how that goes next year. In the meantime, another of our peer mentors has moved away, so others have been filling in for  the cooking and art classes which she taught. Twice I've filled in for cooking in November and am looking for another recipe to try. So far I have made sliders (mini-hamburgers, with dinner rolls as buns) and a recipe I found on a soup can for Savory Lemon Chicken. I loved this. Click here to see the recipe.

    Savory Lemon Chicken

    Also,  I've been searching for ideas for an art project I have proposed for our class to begin after the new year. Something that uses three-dimensional objects, either an assemblage or a diorama. Most of the people don't have a clue what this idea is about, so I'm looking for info to give them. My boss thinks it's great idea. From the images I have found so far, animal habitats seems to be popular diorama themes. Here are two I have found:
    African Savanna Habitat Diorama craftCoral Reef Habitat Diorama craft

    So far this is what lies ahead for next year. 

    How about you? How has this year been for you?

    Tuesday, December 27, 2016

    2017 Literature for Kids Reading Challenge

    2017 Literature For Kids Reading Challenge

    Here is another one that sounds fun. I like reading children's books from time to time.  I may even try writing a children's story. Sign up here.

    Books in this challenge cover the globe, explore new cultures, take us into other time periods, and open our eyes to variety in children’s and teen fiction. Writers of juvenile literature can immerse themselves in multiple genres, to improve intuitive writing skills.

    No specific books are suggested. You are free to explore book lists and come up with your own reading goals. There are twenty-five books on the list – intended as providing two reading experiences each month, with a bonus book for extra credit. Either toss out one book requirement, or add the extra book in sometime during the year.
    To keep track of the books you’ve read, you could use Goodreads, or keep a list on your blog. To challenge yourself further you can write a review of each book on your chosen reading site or on a blog, or even on a Facebook page.
    1. A book about an animal you wouldn’t want as a pet: Olivia--Ian Falconer
    2. An award winning book for ages 8 to 12: Owl Moon--Jane Yolen
    3. A book set in Africa.
    5. A non-fiction book written for children and published within the last five years: Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer--Carole Boston Weatherford
    6. A book that takes place on a farm: The Jolly Barnyard--Annie North Bedford
    7. A poetic novel: Out of the Dust--Karen Hesse
    8. A book with black and white photographs.
    9. A book set in an area within 1000 miles of your home location.
    11. A book set in a country you’ve never visited.
    13. A book written before 1920: Black Beauty--Anna Sewell
    14. A novel with a boy as main character: The Field of the Dogs--Katherine Paterson
    15. A rewrite of a fairytale or folktale: Beast--Donna Jo Napoli
    16. A book recommended by one of your relatives: Gia and the One Hundred Dollars Worth of Bubblegum--Frank Asch
    17. Any book with a W in the title: Wonder--R.J. Palacio
    18. A book about a dog or cat: The Green Dog--Suzanne Fisher Staples
    20. A book with red on the cover.
    21. A picture book published within the last 12 months: Flaptastic Colors
    22. Re-read a book you’ve already loved.
    23. Read a book about weather.
    24. A book with a number in the title.
    25. A novel about a girl in a foreign culture.

    Announcing the 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

    Once again I will be doing this challenge.  I will try to get between 25 and 50 books, or more. Sign up here.

    Here are the Reading Challenge details:

    Each month, a new post dedicated to the HF Challenge will be created. To participate, you only have to follow the rules:

    Everyone can participate, even those who don't have a blog (you can add your book title and thoughts in the comment section if you wish)

    Add the link(s) of your review(s) including your name and book title to the Mister Linky we’ll be adding to our monthly post (please, do not add your blog link, but the correct address that will guide us directly to your review)

    Any sub-genre of historical fiction is accepted (Historical Romance, Historical Mystery, Historical Fantasy, Young Adult, etc.)

    During the following 12 months you can choose one of the different reading levels: 

    20th century Reader - 2 books

    Victorian Reader - 5 books

    Renaissance Reader - 10 books

    Medieval - 15 books

    Ancient History - 25 books

    Prehistoric - 50+ books

    Here is what I am reading:

    Sunday, December 25, 2016

    Quiz: What's Your Christmas Color?

    Even though I skipped the decorations this year...

    Your Christmas Color is Green
    You love an old fashioned, genuine Christmas. And this includes lots of natural elements like trees and wreaths.
    You tend to have a simple Christmas that harkens to times past. You like holidays smells, sights, and songs than have been around for decades - if not centuries.

    You enjoy every moment of this season, but you don't hold on too tightly. You are good with it all being temporary and special.
    You like to bring a little nature indoors if you can during the deadest part of the year. You want a reminder that spring is coming!

    Saturday, December 24, 2016

    Quiz: What Color Christmas Tree Should You Have?

    Even though I didn't get a tree this year...

    You Should Have a Blue Christmas Tree
    For you, the holidays represent a time of calm, understanding, and peace.
    You avoid family fights, and you don't get too stressed out - even when things are crazy!

    You like to make Christmas about making everyone's life a little bit better.
    You don't get caught up in greed or commercialism. You're too sincere for that.

    Your blue tree would look great with: Lots of silver tinsel

    You should spend Christmas Eve watching: It's a Wonderful Life

    What you should bake for Santa: Chocolate chip cookies

    Friday, December 23, 2016


    Ok, here's another one. There are two options for the one and I'm going for the longer one. I'm sure I can find crossovers from other challenges.

    Are you ready for a 2017 reading challenge? Click through to get your 26-book and 52-book challenge checklists!
    2017 Ultimate Reading Challenge! Are you ready for a 2017 reading challenge? Click through to get your 26-book and 52-book challenge checklists...
    The idea behind these challenges is to encourage 

    The 52-book 2017 reading challenge

    1. A book you read in school
    2. A book from your childhood
    3. A book published over 100 years ago: Wives and Daughters--Elizabeth Gaskell
    4. A book published in the last year
    5. A non-fiction book: Hope--Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus
    6. A book written by a male author: 12th of Never--James Patterson
    7. A book written by a female author: To All the Boys I've Loved Before--Jenny Han
    8. A book by someone who isn’t a writer: The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo--Amy Schumer
    9. A book that became/is becoming a film: Wonder--R.J. Palacio
    10. A book published in the 20th Century: The Abominable Man--Maj Sjowell
    11. A book set in your hometown/region
    12. A book with a name in the title
    13. A book with a number in the title: One Thousand White Women--Jim Fergus
    14. A book based on a true story: Night Fall--Nelson DeMille
    15. A book someone else recommended: City of Women--David R. Gillham
    16. A book with over 500 pages: The Big Rock Candy Mountain--Wallace Stegner
    17. A book you can finish in a day: More Brains Than Bullets/The Road to Casas Piedras/West of Dodge--Louis L'Amour
    18. A previously banned book: Black Beauty--Anna Sewell
    19. A book with a one-word title: Cakewalk--Kate Moses
    20. A book translated from another language: Big Bob--Georges Simenon
    21. A personal growth book
    22. A memoir or journal: Bad Dog (A Love Story)--Martin Kihn
    23. A book by someone younger than you: A List of Things That Didn't Kill Me--Jason Schmidt
    24. A book set somewhere you’ll visit this year
    25. An award-winning book: Angle of Repose--Wallace Stegner (Pulitzer)
    26. A book you were supposed to read in school but haven’t yet
    27. A book with a character with your first name
    28. A book with a place in the title
    29. A book set in the future
    30. A play
    31. A scary book: Catch Me--Lisa Gardner
    32. A funny book: Openly Bob--Bob Smith
    33. A book of short stories: The Cat Who Had 14 Tales--Lilian Jackson Braun
    34. A trilogy or series: E. Lockhart--a) The Boyfriend List  b) The Boy Book c) The Treasure Map of Boys  d) Real Live Boyfriends
    35. A bestseller
    36. A book you own but haven’t read yet: Just One Year--Gayle Forman
    37. A book about philosophy: Lipstick Jihad--Azadeh Moaveni
    38. An epic poem: The Epic of Gilgamesh
    39. A Victorian novel: Lady Susan--Jane Austen
    40. A book of poetry: The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens
    41. A book with a colour in the title: Pink--Lili Wilkinson
    42. A book with an appealing cover: The Blacker the Berry--Wallace Thurman
    43. A book about psychology: Bitch--Elizabeth Wurtzel
    44. A book about science: The Immortal Life  of Henrietta Lacks--Rebecca Skloot
    45. A graphic novel: Dork Diaries: Tales From a Not-So-Friendly Frenemy--Rachel Renee Russell
    46. A self-published book
    47. A book based on a true story: A  Million Little Pieces--James Frey
    48. A famous author’s first novel
    49. A book of non-fiction essays:  Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs--Wallace Stegner
    50. A book by an author you haven’t read before: The Impossible Knife of Memory--Laurie Hale Anderson
    51. A book set in a country you’ve never been to: Quicksand--Nella Larsen
    52. A book set in the place you live today:  The Sky is Everywhere--Jandy Nelson

    Thursday, December 22, 2016

    The End of the Pop Culture League

    From this blogpost in October:

    About four years ago, I discovered the site Cool and Collected and its feature The League of Extraordinary Bloggers, a team of bloggers who posted on a different topic each week. Participation was optional each week. After a while I stopped posting, and then discovered the League had been discontinued, only to be reborn under a new name, The Pop Culture League. I decided to try posting to the site again when I can.  Click on the links above to see how to participate.

    Well, now just today, I learned the new Pop Culture League is no more. I must admit I didn't get all that into it,  but I'd hope to blog occasionally with them as I had done previously. But I think what Brian at the blog says is true:

    For most of us, our blogs are a side hobby, not our jobs, and as such, real life tends to take precedence over our online contributions (as it should!)...

    That is true for most people, though in my case, a lack of interest in the topic some weeks kept me away (posting was completely voluntary). And I have mainly been blogging about reading and my writing. Nevertheless, it's sad that the feature had to ago away--again!  But it's been fun and I will miss some of the other bloggers' contributions. Life must move on...

    Wednesday, December 21, 2016

    No Tree This Year, But Still in the Spirit

    No Cutting Christmas Trees

    No, this doesn't mean I'm against having a tree. I just  needed something to
     illustrate this post.  his is among the images that came up when I
    Googled "no tree this year." Read on for more.

    Yes, it's only four days till Christmas  and I don't have a tree.  Just didn't find the time to look for one.But that's OK with me. I still feel in the mode. Also, there won't be a white elephant gift exchange, just dinner, with my mom's family. We'd been doing the gift thing for the last  20 or so years, but this year we decided it was a bit silly .Just being together matters, I guess.

    But I will not be without a white elephant exchange this year. There will be on this evening at the local karaoke bar's annual Christmas party.  And one at my work party this coming Friday. Since it's a county job, I will be off all next week and on January 2.

    No other Christmas decor went up this year either. But I have bought some Christmas-themed candy and our art class at work has been doing Christmas-related crafts for the last two or three weeks. All this makes me still feel in the holiday spirit.

    There are different ways to get in the spirit. They don't have to be elaborate.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2016

    Quiz: What Holiday Cookie Are You?

    You Are a Gingerbread Cookie
    You are an organized, responsible person.
    You value success, and you're likely to get an early start on the day.

    You are good with both planning and numbers.
    You have ambitious life goals, and you're well on your way to achieving them.
    Blogthings: 100's of Fun, Free Quizzes!

    I can agree with mot of this.

    Quiz: The Christmas Cupcake Test

    You Are Traditional
    When it comes to the holidays, you are practically an expert. You know how to flawlessly shop, wrap, gift, and decorate.
    You are big on holiday traditions, and it pains you to skip any. It just doesn't feel like the holidays without a sparkling tree and cookies for Santa.

    You enjoy sharing holiday fun with many people, but it's also a private time of year for you. You like quiet nights at home more than wild nights out.
    This is a good time for nostalgia, reflection, friends, and family. You have a busy holiday but don't get wrapped up in the craziness.