Thursday, December 31, 2020

My Year in Reading

 





I just completed my last book for this year. As I said two days ago, I was surprised to learn I read fewer books this year than I had last year, with all the time off I had this year during quarantine. Before the library began curbside pickup in June, I was forced to read from home and to begin reading more digital books, as well as order from the library's Zip book program (when the library was shut down). I was glad to have turned in all the books I'd had out in March just before the shutdown began.

I was not surprised that The Stand ended up being the longest book. Even though I read it in March after quarantine began (not knowing what was lying ahead), I was certain it would be the longest one I read all year. I could not envision reading anything longer than that. And no surprise that the most popular was Harry Potter, which I never read until now (it was offered on Overdrive without any waits throughout April and May). There is a typo on the site, Tigress is definitely NOT only 10 pages. How this slipped past the Goodreads administrators is beyond me. The shortest book I read has to have been this picture book. And it was no surprise that only three other people read this book

Now tomorrow I will begin my challenges for next year. I was sad not to see the Retellings challenge I had been doing the last two or three years not being offered.This was announced earlier this month. Even though I only got nine books this year, I like reading retellings. I cannot find anything else that has the same theme. Also, the contemporary romance challenge I have been doing for several years was discontinued. This was announced on the site in September, but I did not see that then, as I did not regularly visit the blog. I learned of the cancellation after emailing the blog owner asking if the challenge would be offered next year. Again, I can't seem to find any other challenge for contemporary romance. Still no word on if the picture book challenge is happening. Also waiting on the Foodies read, which always seems to be posted on New Year's Day.I decided not to join the audiobooks one this year, though I likely will be listening to some. I just don't count on doing very many audios next year. Most of the ones I listened to this year were from the digital library. I only borrowed one from the library in January, and listened to two that I got at Kmart as the store closed down in February. On that note, I have read all the books I got at Kmart this year, yet many I got from thrift stores in past year remain unread. I was sure I get to many of those while on lockdown, but I started getting hooked on e-books, though physical ones remain my preferred format. 

Already Used to Staying Home on New Year's Eve

 




It's been so long since I ever went out on New Year's Eve, so staying home this year won't be hard. Bars will be closed, so not being able to go tonight  won't make me sad to be at home. I'm not sure what I'll be watching on TV, if anything at all, but most likely I won't be up till midnight. Staying up that late has been rare for me, even when I wasn't going to work (work was off this week for the holidays). I can't seem to remember the last time I was up past 10PM in the last few months.

I know that New Year's Eve doesn't have to be elaborate just to have fun. Staying home is all right by me.

2021 When Are You Reading? Challenge

 Here is a new one to me. I'd seen this one in the past, but did not decided to try it until now.

It’s back again! I’ll be running the When Are You Reading? Challenge yet again in 2021. Hopefully, I’m not scrambling to finish it on New Year’s Eve next year (less than two hours left in the final audiobook as I type this!). I think the set up worked well last year so I’m going to run with it again.

The premise of the challenge is to read one book from each of twelve time periods. It’s up to the reader where a book lies. You can do it based on publication date or setting, whatever you want. Feel free to switch it up, too.


The time periods are:


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

What I Did More and Less of During the Pandemic

Only three days left in 2020 now. A year that seemed longer than it actually was. Each month seemed like one long month. Is is really almost over?

According to my Goodreads stats for this year, I had more books total last year than this year. Seems weird, with all the time off I had at the start of the pandemic. With all the time I was going to have as a result of lockdown, I envisioned myself writing and crafting more, but did very little of either. Most likely I feel too depressed to think of anything to do. I did write one thing that no one has been able to read and which I have not gotten back to.  Still have not been inspired to write anything. I had also hoped to make some bread-dough crafts, but did not get around that either. But I kept on reading, and am wondering how I got fewer books this year than last year. The longest one I read last year was longer than my longest one this year, yet both were over 1000 pages. This was a prompt I had this year, and will have again next year (not sure what I'll be reading next year that is more than 1000 pages). I will be sharing more on my reading for the year when finish my last book of this year, hoping on Thursday, New Year's Eve.

When it came to making dinner, there were two recipes I did more than once since March: Lemon Pasta with Chicken and Cheesy Chicken Monterey. These were two of the recipes I had done at work back when we were able to have cooking class.  In March at the beginning of the lockdown, I was going through clutter in my room and came across several of the recipes I had. A lot of them required baking, something I cannot do (no working oven), so I did not keep those. 

I think I watched more videos on You Tube this year during the downtime. I loved discovering the Holderness Family's channel and seeing their parodies, many of which were about the pandemic. And I found several other parodies of songs about the events of this past year, including this one (Others such songs are on this same channel):

I was pleased with the election results. Can't wait to say goodbye to the Mango Mussolini, the Orange Menace and any other nicknames people have had for our outgoing president. The election was a bright spot in this otherwise dismal year.

 


Saturday, December 26, 2020

2021 Victorian Reading Challenge

 Getting as many as possible for this one.



*Books published during the Victorian age (1837-1901) are acceptable.

*Books written about the Victorian age are acceptable, no matter what year they were published.

*Stories are not limited to Victorian Britain. Read about what was going on in other parts of the world during this time!


My books:

  1. Cordelia--Winston Graham

What’s in a Name 2021

 Yet another favorite of mine is now up for 2021.


In 2021, choose 6 books that have titles that contain:

Friday, December 25, 2020

The Nerd Daily’s 2021 Reading Challenge

This will be the first time I have done this one.


  1. Audiobook: Crank--Ellen Hopkins
  2. 2020 Goodreads Winner: The Vanishing Half--Brit Bennett
  3. Gold on Cover: Credo--Melvyn Bragg
  4. Two-Word Title: Chasing Redbird--Sharon Creech 
  5. Author Starting With E: Girl, Woman, Other--Bernardine Evaristo
  6. 2021 Adaptation:
  7. Part of a Trilogy: Queen of Air and Darkness--Cassandra Clare
  8. NY Times Bestseller:
  9. Anthology:
  10. Debut Author: Jane in Love--Rachel Givney
  11. Released in April:
  12. Protagonist Starting with L:
  13. Title Starts with G or K: A Killer in the Rye--Delia Rosen
  14. Multiple Perspectives: Troubles in Paradise--Elin Hilderbrand
  15. Features Travelling:
  16. Standalone: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo--Taylor Jenkins Reid
  17. By a Queer Author:
  18. Recommended on Social Media:
  19. Set in Winter:
  20. A Quest:
  21. Bought Based on Cover:
  22. SFF or Mystery:
  23. New Author to You: Girl in Blue--Ann Rinaldi 
  24. Between 460-495 Pages:
  25. Food on the Cover:
  26. Bookstore Recommendation:
  27. Same First Initial as You: Other Words For Home--Jasmine Warga
  28. Reviewed by Us in 2021:
  29. Romance or YA:
  30. Recommended by Family:
  31. Book You Never Finished:
  32. A Dash of Royalty: The Glittering Court--Richelle Mead
  33. Holiday-Event Themed:
  34. Author Starting With N:
  35. An Emotion in Title:
  36. Released Between 1991 and 2012: The Dogfather--Susan Conant
  37. BIPOC Author: Dear Justyce--Nic Stone
  38. Set in the Future:
  39. Flora or Fauna on Cover:
  40. Released in 2020: One to Watch--Kate Stayman-London
  41. Body Part in the Title:
  42. By Two Authors:
  43. Retelling: Never Look Back--Lilliam Rivera
  44. Indie Author:
  45. Purchased Years Ago: The Gatecrasher--Madeleine Wickham
  46. Pink Cover:
  47. Released in July:
  48. Five-Word Title: The Flower in the Skull--Kathleen Alcala
  49. Start a New Series: Chain of Gold--Cassandra Clare
  50. Protagonist Starting with G: You--Caroline Kepnes
  51. Book Gifted to You: Abide With Me--Elizabeth Strout
  52. Recommended by a Friend:

Christmas 2020

 






Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Eve

Just a quiet Christmas Eve here. I'd already expected it to be this way. Rain is expected tomorrow. I'm just fine. Hope all is well with everyone.


 Happy Christmas Eve, everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Christmas Eve Eve and Festivus

 


Happy Christmas  Eve Eve. It still doesn't fell like Christmas is only two days away. But then it is somewhat warm, nearly cold, weather in my home town, which is not unusual even at this time of year. And of course, all the holidays have been very different during this dismal year. I'm still hearing about people traveling for the holidays, which just makes me shake my head. People just aren't listening to science during the pandemic. Not seeing the family won't kill you now, but gathering with them may kill you later. People just aren't getting this message. A Zoom Christmas (for those who use Zoom) or a phone-call Christmas is better than spending New Years' Day in the ICU. And now hospitals are over capacity, including the one in my hometown (the only one in the county). It even got on TV last week! I certainly don't want to be in a hospital right now. 



And does anyone ever celebrate "Festivus"? According to CNN, it's for everyone this year, not just "the rest of us," as noted on the episode of Seinfeld in which the word appeared. A writer the show said his father once dreamed up the holiday (click the link above to see the video). I have never known anyone to celebrate this, have any of you? Do you ever take time to air grievances at this time of year? I've never even thought of such a thing.


And let's wish a happy one to all out there, whatever holiday you're celebrating right now.

Poetry Reading Challenge 2021

 Another I have enjoyed. I will get as many books of poetry as I can.

  • One of the easiest, and possibly most difficult, will be getting people to sign up to read a poem-a-day through the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day service. The challenge is to read a poem-a-day for a week once per month and write about which poems were your favorite and why. You can write up a short blurb on your Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or your blog. I’d love for you to share your experience in the comments each month.
  • Second, read at least 1 book of poetry (doesn’t have to be cover-to-cover) and write about your favorite poems and what you learned about yourself while reading those poems.
  • Third, if you want to go all out, feel free to read as many books of poetry as you can in one year and link to your reviews in the comments.

What I am reading:

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

2021 European Reading Challenge

I will be doing this again, despite how few books I read for this challenge this year. As always, I will get as many as I can through the year.


THE GIST: The idea is to read books by European authors or books set in European countries (no matter where the author comes from). The books can be anything – fiction, nonfiction, novels, short stories, memoirs, travel guides, cookbooks, biography, poetry, whatever. You can participate at different levels, but each book must be by a different author and set in a different country – it's supposed to be a tour. (See note about the UK, below.)

WHAT COUNTS AS "EUROPE"?: We stick with the standard list of 50 sovereign states that fall (at least partially) within the geographic territory of the continent of Europe and/or enjoy membership in international European organizations such as the Council of Europe. This list includes the obvious (the UK, France, Germany, and Italy), the really huge Russia, the tiny Vatican City, and the mixed bag of Baltic, Balkan, and former Soviet states.
Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.
NOTE: Even with Brexit, the United Kingdom is still one country, part of Europe, that includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. One book from any one of these four counts as your one book for the United Kingdom. I'm not going to bust your chops about it because challenges should be about fun not about rules. However, when it comes to winning the Jet Setter prize, only one book from one of the UK countries counts.

LEVELS OF PARTICIPATION

Participants can read as many books as they want and are encouraged to visit as many European countries as possible. The Jet Setter Prize will go to the person who reads (and reviews) books from the greatest number of different countries (see below).

Not everyone wants to compete for a prize, review books, or read a lot of books. You can complete the challenge by reading one to five books from different countries.

To participate in the challenge, sign up at the levels below. If you want to go on to compete for the Prize, keep reading!

  • FIVE STAR (DELUXE ENTOURAGE): Read at least five books by different European authors or books set in different European countries.

  • FOUR STAR (HONEYMOONER): Read four qualifying books.

  • THREE STAR (BUSINESS TRAVELER): Read three qualifying books.

  • TWO STAR (ADVENTURER): Read two qualifying books.

  • ONE STAR (PENSIONE WEEKENDER): Read just one qualifying book.

 My books:

  1. Cordelia--Winston Graham (UK)
  2. From Scratch--Tembi Locke (Italy)
  3. Credo--Melvyn Bragg (Ireland)
  4. Sophie's Choice--William Styron (Poland)
  5. Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine--Kristiana Gregory (France)

Monday, December 21, 2020

Elf Humor

I must admit I have never done the "Elf on the Shelf" thing. But I just had to share these pictures because they are so fun.





The 2021 Reading Challenge @ Modern Mrs. Darcy

For the Modern Mrs. Darcy challenge in 2021, the host is allowing us to choose our own reading prompts from past challenges.



Here are the ones I chose:

  1. Three books by the same author: Elin Hilderbrand a) What Happens in Paradise b) Troubles in Paradise c) The Blue Bistro
  2. A book in translation:
  3. A book of poetry, a play or an essay collection:
  4. A book more than 500 pages: Queen of Air and Darkness--Cassandra Clare
  5. A banned book: Sophie's Choice--William Styron
  6. A memoir, biography or book of creative nonfiction: Assata: An Autobiography--Assata Shakur
  7. Book about books or reading: Twelve Angry Librarians--Miranda James
  8. A Newbery Award winner or honor book:
  9. A book of any genre that addresses current events: Me and White Supremacy--Layla F. Saad
  10. Pulitzer or National Book Award winner:
  11. A book published this year (2021): Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder--Joanne Fluke
  12. Book by a favorite author: 

The 2021 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

This will be the second year I have participated in this one. Last year, I'd originally signed up for the Baker's Dozen level, but after reaching that level in April, decided to upgrade to Fortnightly, and will be choosing that level again. The prompts are in the graphic below. Click the link above to see a larger image. I made it smaller to fit on my page. 



  1. Shapes and Colors: Primarily Black Cover: Crank--Ellen Hopkins
  2. It's All Relative: "Father" in the Title: The Dogfather--Susan Conant 
  3. Who's in Charge?: About an Empire: The Glittering Court--Richelle Mead
  4. Things We Don't Talk About: Book by a Politician: The Truths We Hold--Kamala Harris
  5. Challenges: Over 500 Pages: Queen of Air and Darkness--Cassandra Clare
  6. Bringing the World Into Your Home: A Culture Other Than Your Own: Thirteen Senses--Victor VillaseƱor
  7. Picture This: Photograph on the Cover: From Scratch--Tembi Locke
  8. Generations: Book About Flappers: The Edge of Town--Dorothy Garlock
  9. Make 'Em Laugh: Pun in the Title: A Killer in the Rye--Delia Rosen
  10. Swashbucking: Sword on the Cover: Chain of Gold--Cassandra Clare
  11. Reflections: Memoir: Untamed--Glennon Doyle
  12. Drinking Game: Picture of an Alcoholic Beverage on the Cover: The Playboy--Carly Phillips
  13. TBR Burners: Book You're Excited to Read: One to Watch--Kate Stayman-London
  14. Those Bodies: Picture of a Ocean on the Cover: The Blue Bistro--Elin Hilderbrand
  15. Borrowing: A Fairy Tale or Myth in a Modern Setting: Never Look Back--Lilliam Rivera
  16. Crossing Boundaries: Interracial Romance: The Vanishing Half--Brit Bennett
  17. Occupations: About a Librarian or Bookseller: Twelve Angry Librarians--Miranda James
  18. That Creepy Feeling: Horror Story or Thriller: Girl on a Train--A.J. Waines

Sunday, December 20, 2020

2021 Newbery Reading Challenge

 Doing this one once again. Will try for the first level.

Picture
Welcome to another year of the Newbery Reading Challenge! Newbery and Caldecott books are fun to read - whether it's our first time experiencing them, or we're revisiting them from our childhood. If you want to challenge yourself to read more Newbery and Caldecott books this year, then you have found the right place!

Here are the rules:
Each book you read is worth points. You get:
  • 3 points for a Newbery Medal Winner
  • 2 points for a Newbery Honor Book
  • 1 point for a Caldecott Book (Both Medal winners and Honor books are worth a point.)

In addition to that, you pick a level to aim for:
  • L'Engle: 15 - 29 points
  • Spinelli: 30 - 44 points
  • Avi: 45 - 59 points
  • Lowry: 60 - 74 points
  • Konigsburg: 75+ points

You can get to this level with any combination of points you want. You can read all Newbery Medal winners. You can throw in a few Honor Books. If you want, you can even read 75 Caldecott Medal winners! How you get to your point level is totally up to you. 

Also, anywhere in the point range for your level counts as completing that level. So for example, if you signed up for the Avi level and read 46 points' worth of books, then you have completed that level!

List of Newbery Medal Winners & Honor Books
List of Caldecott Medal Winners & Honor Books


My Books:

Stacked Reviews 2021 Reading Challenge

 A new one that I found this year.

2021 Reading Challenge Stacked

My Books:

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Christmas Horror Humor

Even though the Friday the 13th in December was last year, it still fits the feeling of horror we've been having all year long. 




Friday, December 18, 2020

Two Weeks Left

Only two weeks until 2021. Will what the singer says in this parody video still be true?


And how many of you never showered? I could not go without doing it even with having to be home most of the time. And how many stayed in pajamas and robes all day? I just can't stand the idea of doing such a thing, and having to be home most of the time for most of the year didn't change that. This was not a year to be taunting others for having too much time on their hands, because that was true for all of us, and it wasn't any of our faults.  



Yeah, it has seemed like what was once a playground taunt in grammar school is now for real. Using alcohol wipes and hand sanitizer became standard this past year. I cannot remember using much hand sanitizer in past year. Maybe just sometimes when I had a cold, something that seems to happen every year around this time. And this year is no exception. 

Here is a parody by the same channel above that poked fun of the overuse
of sanitizer: 

 





And I managed not to run out of toilet paper while store shelves were stripped bare of this stuff. I still am wondering why people thought they needed so much. "Hoarding" became part of the vocabulary of 2020. How many times did any of you hear that word in a single year before the hoarding of toilet paper this past March? 


In the beginning, I tried to use no more than two squares at a time to make the toilet paper last until the stores had it again. Thankfully, I had gotten some at Safeway the first Saturday in March, and a nurse friend of my mom's had some by with some stuff for us, which included two packs of TP. And my cousin next door gets hers at Costco, and had some to lend us. 

Pasta was another thing that stores were out of at the beginning of quarantine. I could not understand this, but some say pasta is a comfort food. Now pasta is easy to find, even after the second round of toilet paper hoarding began. And when I was at the store the other day, I saw someone with a pack of the Safeway brand TP in their cart. So there must be more in the stores now.

Along with "hoarding," words and phrases like "pandemic," "Coronavirus," "shelter-in-place," "quarantine," and "social distancing," all became part of the vocabulary for everyone, and those with children had to deal with "remote learning." (I escaped that last one). And were there any I missed? These I hope not to hear again in 2021, though it's not certain how much longer the world will still been this current situation. Not too much longer, though, we're all hoping. 


RAD Reading Challenge for 2021

 This will be my second time doing this one, at Rachel A. Dawson's site:



My Books:





Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Already Going to Stay Home for Christmas

One Christmas song I like is called "Please Come Home for Christmas," which has been recorded by many artists, including the Eagles (in the video below):




But for this year, a better message would be "Please Stay Home for Christmas." I know people are missing family, but just do it for this year and see what next season entails. 

As for me, with so little family left, our family stood having large Christmas gathering several years ago. Not even doing white elephant gift exchanges any longer. That has been fine with me and everyone else in the family. We don't plan on a "Zoom" holiday, as most of us have not gotten into that stuff. But for others, a Zoom Christmas is better than an ICU New Year's Eve. 

And I have not done much for New Year's Day either. I can't remember the last time I went to a bar celebration for NYE, and those will be out this year. But that's fine by me. Do whatever you can to stay safe during the holidays.




Having a 1920's-themed party this year may have seemed like a good idea and I  had thought last year we could do that at the center this year for the centennial of the 1920s. But the pandemic of course, shut down all parties and potlucks this year. We're still having a gift exchange next week, but without bringing food to share. 

Please do what you can to stay safe this holiday season and have a happy holiday.

Monday, December 14, 2020

NJM Book Challenge 2021

 Will be doing this one again, now in its third year.

  1. Published in 2021:
  2. Non-fiction book: Me and White Supremacy--Layla F. Saad
  3. Self-published book:
  4. Set during a historical event: Ziggy, Stardust and Me--James Brandon
  5. Made into a film/TV series: Sophie's Choice--William Styron
  6. Bad-boy hero: Ravished--Amanda Quick
  7. Biography/autobiography: Beautiful Boy--David Sheff 
  8. Written pre-1900:
  9. With a sassy heroine: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo--Taylor Jenkins Reid
  10. Over 500 pages: Queen of Air and Darkness--Cassandra Clare
  11. By multiple authors:
  12. Can read in a single day/session: Chasing Redbird--Sharon Creech
  13. Based on folklore/myth: Never Look Back--Lilliam Rivera
  14. Book with images: Fairy Tales of Ireland--W.B. Yeats
  15. By one of your favorite authors:
  16. In a genre you don't often read:
  17. LGBTQIA+ rep: Boyfriend Material--Alexis Hall
  18. Debut author: Jane in Love--Rachel Givney
  19. Translated book:
  20. New-to-you author: Girl in Blue--Ann Rinaldi 
  21. Nominated for an award:
  22. Spec-fic book:
  23. Weather word in the title:
  24. With an Occupation in the Title: Twelve Angry Librarians--Miranda James
  25. Set in another country:

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Books in Translation Reading Challenge 2021

Another that the Introverted Reader is bring back after not having it since about 2016. I will get as many as I can for this one.

Rules

  • You can read a book that’s been translated from any language into the language of your choosing. The challenge is not limited to translations to or from English.
  • You can read any genre
  • You can read books meant for any age group
  • Crossovers with other challenges are fine
  • Any format that you choose is also acceptable
  • The challenge will run from January 1 through December 31, 2021
  • A blog is not required for participation; you can also link to reviews on other sites such as GoodReads or LibraryThing
  • Sign up anytime throughout the year
  • I’ve tried to keep this simple but if you have any questions, reach out in the comments, via social media (links in my sidebar), or my contact form.
  • Most importantly, have fun!

Levels

Beginner: Read 1-3 books in translation
Conversationalist: 4-6 books
Bilingual: 7-9 books
Linguist: 10+ books

Here is what I am reading: