Monday, December 31, 2018

2019 DIVERSITY READING CHALLENGE

The Platypire Diversity challenge won't be offered next year, so the Celebrity Readers page is now hosting a similar challenge. I plan to complete all 12 monthly themes and try to read as many LGBTQ+ books for the summer as possible.



JANUARY – diverse folktales/culture/mythology; or diverse retelling; or non-western setting:

FEBRUARY – poc: Black/African American: Not Without Laughter--Langston Hughes

MARCH – #ownvoices; or gender: female authors in male-dominated genres/non-fiction
APRIL – poc: Middle Eastern/South Asian
JUNE – LGBT+ pride summer: sexuality and gender identity
JULY – LGBT+ pride summer: sexuality and gender identity
AUGUST – mental health/addiction
SEPTEMBER – poc: hispanic/latinx
OCTOBER – physical/sensory/cognitive/intellectual/developmental disabilities
NOVEMBER – poc: Native American
DECEMBER – religious minorities
There’s sort of an extra level to the LGBT+ pride summer in June and July — aim to check off as many letters in LGBTQQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual) as possible!

My Year in Reading

I just finished my last book of this year and am excited to begin again next year,  which as you know, starts tomorrow. Can't believe it's almost here!

Here are my results from Goodreads:


Sunday, December 30, 2018

2019 Nonfiction Reading Challenge

I want to do this one again, even though I've already signed up for the nonfiction bingo challenge.


I know this is a little late to announce a challenge, but I will be hosting a nonfiction reading challenge in 2019. I mostly want to provide a place for you to share your nonfiction goals and to chat with other nonfiction readers. To make that possible, we’ll have three twitter chats throughout the year, plus optional email reminders. Goals will be flexible and up to you. Sign-ups will be open through January 30th.

Suggested Goals

Rather than suggest particular levels for this challenge, I’ve got a couple of ideas for different nonfiction reading goals you could set for yourself.
Let me know if there are other types of goals you’d suggest and I’ll add them to the list.
Here is what I am reading:

2019 Book to Movie Reading Challenge

Once again I'll be doing this one, level 3b.


My books:

  1. The Isle of the Lost--Melissa De La Cruz
  2. A Raisin in the Sun--Lorraine Hansberry

Friday, December 28, 2018

Reading Challenge 2019 @ Savored Grace

Another I could not resist. A lot of the categories are right in my league. I read a lot of YA, so I may get more than one for this list.

Reading Challenge 2019*

1. a “classic” novel
2. a book of poetry: Milk and Honey--Rupi Kaur
3. a historical fiction novel
4. a science fiction novel (note: not a fantasy novel! see #14)
5. a true story or a novel based on one: Journey to Topaz--Yoshiko Uchida
6. a memoir or autobiography: Educated--Tara Westover
7-11. books that are set on different continents
7. The Mysterious Affair at Styles--Agatha Christie (Europe)
8. Nine Perfect Strangers--Liane Moriarty (Australia)
9. Kabul Beauty School--Deborah Rodriguez (Asia)
10.
11.
12. a book with an alliterative title
13. a mystery 
14. a fantasy novel
15. a dystopian novel: Wolfsbane--Andrea Cremer
16. an informational book about [something you’ve wanted to learn and know nothing about]
17. a love story
18. a western
19. a comedy: The Diary of a Nobody--George Grossmith
20. a short story collection
21. a novel written in first person
22. a book published posthumously
23. a co-authored book
24. a book with an animal on the front cover
25. a second book by an author you discovered last year
26. a play: A Raisin in the Sun--Lorraine Hansberry
27. your best friend’s favorite book of the year
*one of these books must be YA fiction, but you can choose which one!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

What to Be Thankful For at the End of the Year

From Writerslife.org:

Now the end of the year is upon us it’s time to look back, reflect and think about everything that we have to be thankful for.
Writing a list of all the things you are grateful for can be a wonderful way to end the year. Being a writer comes with so many great benefits and whether you do it as a hobby or professionally, taking the time to step back and realise what they are can mean you fall in love with writing just a little bit more. 
Here are some of the top reasons why we should be grateful to be writers
Support from family and friends
Writing is not without its challenges and having a good support system in place is essential. Long hours, re drafts, self-doubt, rejections and bad reviews are all made more bearable by having people we love cheering us on. This however, is never more true when it comes to celebrating our successes too. Getting something published, finishing a piece of work, getting a great review - being able to have loved ones who are so proud of us makes it all so much more worthwhile.
Having the time to write
No matter how you manage to fit writing into you day, you do manage to fit it in. If you have the freedom and capacity to write at your leisure that is something to be grateful for. If you’ve had to make sacrifices to do so you should be so proud of yourself and appreciate that you are the kind go person who has guts and determination which is something to be thankful for too. 
The satisfaction of doing something well
There is nothing better than looking back over a piece of writing and thinking ‘ you know what, that aint half bad.’ Writers can spend a lot of time being their own worst enemies and overly critical, so clutch onto and recognise rarer moment when we actually feel quite happy with what we’ve written! 
The freedom that writing brings
Writing is incredibly cathartic and we can do it anywhere in the world. Because of that it can bring great freedom both physically and emotionally, and there is nothing more wonderful than feeling free. 
Observing the little things
Being a writer means that you have to keep your eyes and ears open, and when you observe and recognise the little things in life and learn to appreciate them this can give you a sense of wonder and satisfaction and interest in the world that makes you feel super connected and fascinated and alive. 
The exciting things you learn and experiences you get from being a writer
Being a writer takes you to all sorts of places and has you learning about all sorts of things. Whether its through research, talking to people or just wandering the earth and taking in everything as you go, as a writer you are always on the lookout for your next inspiration and that means you can end up having a very exciting life indeed.
Following ones dreams
Most writers write because it’s their passion, and they do it because they love it - it’s as simple as that. Staying true to yourself, doing what makes you happy and following your dreams is something every writer should be very grateful for indeed.
What does being a writer make you grateful for? Share it with us here!
 I well agree with what is being said. I fell I have accomplished a lot, thanks to finding a writer's lab group in my town. Meeting other writers and receiving input and feedback from them on my work  and me giving it to them on theirs has been helpful and productive and I'm glad to have the group for this reason. 
As I await the end of this year, I also await the results of the Blydyn Square Books Publishing Contest this coming Monday, December 31. I entered my memoir just before the September deadline by email and am now counting down the days till the winner is announced. 
I'm now making plans to work more on my sequel either before or after the year ends, depending on how much activity occurs over the next days. But I'm determined to work on it more that I have been doing
I'm glad to announce I will once again be teaching my creative writing class at work on alternate Mondays. I started the class in 2016 when I first began working as a peer mentor. Unfortunately, it was scheduled late in the day when most clients tend to leave for the day, so the class was cancelled at the beginning of 2017. I will be alternating Mondays with another mentor's class, which will keep both of us from having to come up with lesson for each week. I'm also glad to hear that the county library will now be open on Sundays starting in January. This will be something to do then.
These are just a few things that are coming up in the new year. Will wait to see what else happens :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas Memories

Hope everyone today has a great Christmas and for those who don't celebrate, have a happy holiday season. 

Over the last month, I've been seeing images on Facebook of old Christmas catalog covers. This definitely brought back memories for me. I remember the ones from JCPenney the most. Every year, the catalog would arrive in the mail around September and I would peruse the toy section, wanting some of the new and hot toys of the year. I eventually got some of the ones I'd wanted, if not every single one. I would do this every year till I outgrew playing with toys. Here is a similar post I made in December 2010.




I chose this image since Strawberry Shortcake (the original) was among the may toys I had as a child. Holly Hobbie was a favorite, too. And there are just too many others to mention, let alone search for an image.

At the bottom of the page, you will see the note that toys are not just for Christmas and that any of the toys may be ordered from the catalog until sometime the following summer. 






And many of you will remember this Christmas phenomenon from 1983. It has now been 35 years since parents were scouring stores for these dolls and most of them were unable to obtain one for their child. Amazon and the Internet in general didn't exist then, as you all know, so going to stores and ordering by catalog were the only options people had at that time. 

And now the Christmas toy craze of 1983 has become a miniseries on HBO. It has already been parodied numerous times on TV shows and in the movie Jingle All the Way.

As I said yesterday, I began notes for the next chapter in my book sequel. The book's timeline is now December 1983, so it was time to mention Christmas. The protagonist is now 12, going on 13, so he decides he's too old for toys (and he can't have candy with braces). He sees the Cabbage Patch Kids on the news (I too, recall seeing this on the local evening news at the time), and thinks that his mom must be glad she won't have to search for one for him.

I've wondered for some time now if kids still lust after hot toys each Christmas or are they more after electronic devices these days? Either way, if an item is so sought-after for the holidays, it probably sells out fast both in stores and online. Again, online shopping was not an option during the CPK craze of 1983, so the stores must have been crowded with people pushing and shoving one another trying to find one of these elusive toys. 

Speaking of shopping online, I won an Amazon gift card for being the first participant to finish this reading challenge. And I won a gift card for Target in a  raffle at our work party on Friday. I will likely go in store to use that one, but not till after Christmas, of course. Target's closed today, but I'm not sure how crowded it will be in the days following Christmas.

What are some memories you have of Christmas? 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Non-Fiction Book Bingo 2019 Challenge

This is at Reading in Winter. I will get as many squares as possible.


a book that’s been made into a movie –
a self-help title – 
a title by an indigenous author – 
a biography –
a title by a Canadian author – 
a Baillie Gifford award winner – 
a celebrity or public figure memoir – 
a true crime title – 
a title by a person of colour – 
a book about science & technology – 
a book about feminism – 
a book about nature or the environment – Quicksilver Chronicles--Frances K. Woods
free space –  Kabul Beauty School--Deborah Rodriguez
a 2019 release – 
a book about parenting or relationships – 
a book on religion or spirituality – 
a pre-2000 non-fiction title – Wasted--Marya Hornbacher
a book about a medical condition – 
a title that was a 5-star read for a friend – 
a book about travel – 
an essay collection –
a book about food, wine, or cooking – 
a book set outside of North America – 
a Goodreads winner (from any year) – 
a non-fiction book that has been translated – 

Christmas Eve



Wishing everyone a Happy Christmas Eve. Not much planned for tonight, but am planning to see a movie tonight.

And also last night, I began working more on my book sequel, writing longhand in bed in a notebook. I want to get working on it more.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

2019 READING CHALLENGE @ BLOOM WHERE YOU'RE PLANTED

Another tempting one.

  1. I am not a graphic designer. I know this image isn’t perfect but progress>perfection and I don’t freaking care if the text isn’t perfect. Bahaha!
  2. If you are wondering what Up Lit is, here you go.
  3. If you need help finding one of my recommendations, here is my Goodreads.
Bloom Where You're Planted 2019 Reading Challenge // via Stephanie Howell
Here is what I am reading:
  1. Non-Fiction: Quicksilver Chronicles--Frances K. Woods
  2. Mention of Military/War: Journey to Topaz--Yoshiki Uchida
  3. Picture Book: Hello, Baby Animals--Lorinda Bryan Cauley
  4. Memoir: Wasted--Marya Hornbacher
  5. In a Series: The Isle of the Lost--Melissa De La Cruz
  6. Written By a Woman of Color: Hello, Universe--Erin Estrada Kelly
  7. Poetry: Milk and Honey--Rupi Kaur
  8. YA: Play Me--Laura Ruby
  9. Book You Tried Once: The Secret Life of Eva Hathaway--Janice Weber
  10. Dystopia: Wolfsbane--Andrea Cremer
  11. Historical Fiction: White Houses--Amy Bloom

2019 PINK AND DIZZY READING CHALLENGE

This one is tempting.
2019 reading challenge

  1. Based on a True Story: Journey to Topaz--Yoshiki Uchida
  2. Adapted Into a TV Series: The Isle of the Lost--Melissa De La Cruz
  3. Audiobook: Educated--Tara Westover
  4. Starts With the Letter P: Play Me--Laura Ruby
  5. Author You've Never Read Before: The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak--Brian Katcher
  6. One-Word Title: Wolfsbane--Andrea Cremer
  7. Historical Fiction: White Houses--Amy Bloom

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Grand World of Books 2019 Book Bingo

Will do this one again, getting as many books as I can.

GWB 2019 Book Bingo UPDATED
My books:
  1. Diverse Book: Journey to Topaz--Yoshiki Uchida
  2. More Than 219 Pages: Wasted--Marya Hornbacher
  3. First Book in a Series: The Isle of the Lost--Melissa De La Cruz
  4. Library Book: Hello, Universe--Erin Estrada Kelly
  5. Audiobook: Educated--Tara Westover
  6. Author You've Never Read Before: The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak--Brian Katcher
  7. Re-Read: The Secret Life of Eva Hathaway--Janice Weber
  8. Author's Debut Book: Red Earth and Pouring Rain--Vikram Chandra
  9. Didn't Choose Because of the Cover: Prom & Prejudice--Elizabeth Eulberg
  10. Chose Because of the Cover: The Female Persuasion--Meg Wolitzer



DDRR Reading Challenge 2019

I now want to do this bingo card challenge, completing as many categories as possible.

2019 Reading Challenge



 Here is what I am reading:

  1. Local Author: Quicksilver Chronicles--Frances K. Woods
  2. Woman of Color: Journey to Topaz--Yoshiki Uchida
  3. Nonfiction Text: Wasted--Marya Hornbacher
  4. Won a Literary Award: Hello, Universe--Erin Entrada Kelly
  5. A Debut Novel: Red Earth and Pouring Rain--Vikram Chandra
  6. Own But Haven't Read Yet: Prom & Prejudice--Elizabeth Eulberg
  7. Set in the Country You Live: And We Stay--Jenny Hubbard
  8. Set at a University Campus: The Female Persuasion--Meg Wolitzer



Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Sweet Southern Reading Challenge 2019

I missed there being a Southern-themed reading challenge so I was gold to see this new one at Readeropolis. I will try for the first level, getting more if time permits.




Guidelines for the Challenge:

  • Please focus on works that are Southern in feeling. I'll leave it for you to decide what that means. I won't throw a hissy fit about specifics, just please keep in mind the South is more than just an area on a map. 
  • The challenge will run from January 1 to December 31, 2019.
  • Books must be started on or after January 1 to count.
  • There are five reading levels. You can move up or down in level, if needed.
  • All book formats are allowed.
  • Books can cross over to other challenges in which you are participating.
  • Re-reads are okay.

For this challenge, the South is defined as the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.* 

There are five reading levels for this challenge. 
  • One Glass of Sweet Tea: Read 1 - 3 Books
  • Two Glasses of Sweet Tea: Read 4 - 6 Books
  • Three Glasses of Sweet Tea: Read 7 - 9 Books
  • A Pitcher of Sweet Tea: Read 10 - 12 Books
  • A Gallon Glass of Sweet Tea: Read 13 or More Books


Here is what I am reading:

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Monday, December 17, 2018

The HSL 2019 Reading Challenge

I may not be a parent--let alone a homeschooling one-- but I like Bingo reading challenges and I haven't found very many this year (I'll miss Full House) so I am doing this one.  Al to the categories are of interest to me and I will fill s many of them as possible. (You can download a copy of the Bingo card here.)

 Scroll to the bottom of this post if you want to download a PDF copy for yourself. New year, new books! For some people, the end of the year means holiday treats, celebrations, time with family and friends — and that’s all nice, but real book nerds know that winter break is really all about putting together your dream TBR list for the coming year.If you, too, are looking for a way to organize your (endless) reading lists for 2019, consider our Reading Challenge Bingo — it’s flexible enough to work for you and your younger readers and a fun way to keep track of what you’re reading throughout the year. You can be as ambitious as you like: Complete the whole card by reading 25 books, or just complete a row or two. Your 3rd grader can tackle the challenges, your high schooler can fill out her own card, and you can take this challenge on yourself. Keep your scorecards on the fridge and plan celebrations when you hit major milestones or offer prizes for the first person to get three in a row or another accomplishment you choose. 
Ideally, this challenge will give you an excuse to check out a
few books you wanted to read anyway and point you toward
a few books that you might not have picked up otherwise.
And since it involves reading, everybody wins!

What’s on this year’s challenge: