Welcome to Marjay's reading blog.

Nirvana

Today - at least for a while this morning was Nirvana.  SIGH

I was able to sit outside and enjoy our shady spot under the tree reading a book!  AND there was ice tea involved. There was a slight breeze and I was surrounded by flowers.  Add to this scene, I was reading the newest Karen White book called Flight Patterns (which was awesome!) Tomorrow, I will be able to sit outside at the lake with a pal and again enjoy the sun with my toes in the sand and a book.  This is truly what makes all the snow and ice worthwhile. (Even though that  weather allows me to read inside curled up on the couch.)  The cats were sleeping on the ground by me. This was Nirvana.  Except for the bee that stung me.  Obviously the bee did not get the message I was in my happiest of happy places.  

All this happiness was able to happen due to the public and school libraries that I have used throughout my life.  I have always had access to great libraries and books that helped encourage my love of reading.  Over the years, I have discovered that there are schools that are struggling without books. I knew that as our economics have tightened in many towns that the libraries in schools and towns often have to do without. I did not spend a lot of time thinking about this.

Last week through a link on a group facebook page (on one of my favorite authors), I found out about the Greenville Junior/Senior High School and Indian Valley Academy in California.  The school has struggled for years to supply books to students.  They have not been able to buy new books for their library since the 1990s.  The school district has decided to rededicate themselves to improving the quality and quantity of the books available, but money was an issue.  A blogger in the area, wrote a series of blogs about sending books to the school system.  And that is when a true miracle happened.  Other bloggers reblogged the information and people have sent books. Lots of books. The entire list of needed books on Amazon has been donated by kind people. Other people have sent their favorite young adult books and others have sent gently used books. I also sent some books, sending titles that the boys have particularly enjoyed this year.

I realized how truly blessed I have been.  Books have been a constant in my world for years.  I hope those students find a similar Nirvana.

Father's Day 2016

Father’s Day always leaves me feeling a little left out.  Dad died many years ago and I wholeheartedly miss his presence in my life.  As years pass, I have more trouble ‘seeing’ my dad in my mind’s eye.  I know he loved to be outdoors.  He loved his family.  He loved to play Scrabble.  He loved to read.  He loved us.

He used to sit at the kitchen table reading the newspaper cover to cover daily, although he may have been “resting his eyes” as well.  He always knew what was going on in town and in the state.  He loved to read westerns.  He had a collection of Charles Alden Seltzer and Zane Grey books that he read cover to cover many times. Some of these were from the original printing and others were reprints.  He knew each book frontwards and backwards.  Both authors were prolific and had published many books, some even came out after their death.  He shared these books with me and I read each and every one of them. I had favorites and least favorites.  I had books I read over and over.  Dad thought a lot of these books and they were always well maintained.  When he became ill, he lent some out and I have never found where they ended up.  After he died I took the rest of them to my home.  

Charles Alden Seltzer and Zane Grey’s books were novels were about a time in the west that had been serialized by cowboys, wanderers, mountain men, rangers, western justice, and standing up for what was right and moral.  The heroes were not always heroes at first, but by the end of the book, they usually had solved some mystery or injustice and saved or married a woman caught up in the concern.  The books described the western landscape with details that made the books come alive.  I sometimes wonder if that is how he saw himself.  Someone who had it hard, but found the woman he wanted and tried to stand up for what was moral and right.  Not such a bad goal when you think of it…  

I loved my Dad and work hard to stand up for what is right. I love my family and love to play Scrabble, although I am not as good at it as he was. I love being outdoors most of the time. But of all the similarities one of the largest he passed on to me was the love of reading fiction.   Thanks Dad!

 

Summer Reads

School is almost done… that means - SUMMER READING

I am excited to have school end for the year.  Not that I will stop working.  I am responsible for writing curricula and tutoring several students in reading, writing and math.  Having said all that, I do get some more time off in a couple of weeks.  The gardens need weeding.  The house needs a thorough cleaning.  I need to get more exercise. Mostly, I get to read under the trees in comfortable chairs with ice tea or on the sandy beach at the lake.  There is always so much to see and do in the summer:  flowers, birds, blue skies and lots of time.

One of the sure signs of summer is the lists of “beach books.”  There are different definitions of what a makes a beach read. Many people consider beach reads to be books that could be read at the beach and might not be as intense.  For me, the story has to include a beach, usually the ocean. Some of my favorite authors have books that are published now for the summer  I have a list already given to the local library for the books.

There are scores of places online with list after list of summer reads.  I have put together my list to save you time!  Below are my “favorite author’s summer reads.”  I know I am going to be reading them!  I am so ready!

Flight Patterns by Karen White

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews

All Summer Long by Dorothea Benton Frank

The Island House by Nancy Thayer

Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand

Seashell Season (comes out late June) by Holly Chamberlin

These are books I am considering to read as well.  

The Sunlight Night by Rebecca Dinerstein

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Wild Lake by Laura Lippman

Mystic Summer by Hannah McKinnon

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

Santorini Sunset (comes out in July) by Anita Hughes

Magic

Magic...

I know that the magic of books is available for everyone.

This last quarter school has been - well difficult at times.  There is always more to teach and NEVER enough time to get to it all.  The school I teach at is not like many schools and contains students who were not succeeding in their regular schools.  They were not able to access the education that they needed and were often scorned for their efforts.  Some of the students I have had for two years while others are newer to the school and me.  Some are reading way above level and some are reading below their chronological level.  I have spent time telling them about books, reading books with them.  Books that have adventures and hopes and information, nonfiction and fiction alike. I have bribbed and cajoled and tried again with more books.

And then it happened last week… a student completed a book and sighed and said that he really liked his book but now it is all done.  To my surprise and enjoyment, the other students actually put down the various books they were reading and the five of them had a discussion about what book he should read next. From this, he had decided on a new book.  I was jumping and laughing and crying inside.  

Are these students going to be readers for life?  The jury is still out on that, but they had a heartfelt conversation about books.  They spoke about what they liked in the books they had read.  They listened to each other.  They offered suggestions to each other that were thoughtful and showed understanding.  They used the literary terms I have been encouraging them to use like plot and characters and mood.  

The best part was that didn’t just happen in one class, but it happened in all three Language Arts classes.  Not to the marked extent of the first class, but in other ways.  Student have been reading me parts of their stories.  Students have been laughing outloud at a character’s silliness.  And they have been writing reviews for me.  Short and sometimes awkward reviews but reviews none the less.  A couple of them have even exposed themselves to putting their reviews up on GoodReads.  Others have asked me to write home, with titles of books to get from the library or other sources.   

The point of this  - books are magic.  They can transform.  They can change people.  They can be part of a boy’s or a girl’s life even when reading is hard.  Magic….

Memorial Day 2016

Today is Memorial Day and I wish I could thank the men and women who sacrificed their lives.  Their stance on freedom has allowed us to enjoy this beautiful day full of sun and warmth. A day that allows many of us to cook out, spending the time with family and friends.  Baseball games and swimming, laughing and playing, a day spent in the luxury of peace.

Recently while planning for a history unit, I had the occasion to do some early research on WWII.  Dad was part of the Air Force and wore his uniform proudly, but when it was time for the war to be over, he hung it up and did not speak about it.  He was stationed in India and China and flew what was known as the Indochina loop.  Many of the men from his group did not survive.  Some of the planes they flew in were not meant for the heights they flew, or had engines that could not stay cool sufficiently to be safe.  I am grateful my dad survived.  

However, reading about the battles made me so grateful for all the men and woman who died in all our armed services.  Some of them took missions knowing that they were one way with little possibility of return.  Many were killed invading small islands that were booby trapped.  Others died trying to push back invading armies. Many died on foreign soils buried where they died.

The tragic horror of war has taken so much.  Praying  for the day when wars cease.

Books Sales

Another weekend has gone.  I am not sure what happens to make them move so quickly.  I have started another online course form edX, so my reading time has been impacted.  The course luckily does not have a lot of reading, but more visuals with videos of lectures, with further research and discussions.  It is amazing what four hours devoted to a class can do to your reading time. (Luckily it is a four week class.)

It is an expensive time of year for me to be a reader for some different reasons:  library, the FOMBE and the book sales. It is the time of the year for me to pay for my library card for another year.  I know, if I used my local library I would not be paying for the privilege.  When I worked for a school district and my mom lived in that same district, it was easier to use that library, especially because they allowed employees of the school to use the library for free.  It is a lovely library with wonderfully knowledgeable and nice personnel.  So even though I have moved my employment status to another school and my mom no longer is alive, I cheerfully pay to stay using the Baker Free Library.  It is a jewel among libraries.

I am also a founding member of MainStreet BookEnds.  It is our local independent bookstore.  They have been wonderful finding books for me and suggesting others.  As a FOMBE with a once a year buy in, I can get 20% off my purchases.  This is a wonderful perk and I am grateful to be part of a wonderful opportunity.  

Lastly, the book sales are killing me.  The bookstore helps fund a scholarship that is funded by a huge book sale in the spring.  Once again, I dropped some money there.  On top of that the Historical Society has opened it’s barn again.  On the second floor there are books and books and books to buy.  Once again I felt the need to help out by buying books, like I need more!

My reading might have been curtailed, but my buying of books and other book related activities were going strong...OH WELL.  

I love factoids

I love factoids.  You know the bits of facts that are not known by a lot of people but I find are fascinating.  Adding bits of facts and twisting them into a novel is a way to add realism to fiction.  A great author can take one small item from history and weave it into a story that makes you truly believe the most outrageous of consequences years later.  I love books that can do this!  I love wondering where exactly the line is… There are many authors that do this, but in the last couple of weeks I have read a some with fabulous real ties to the past and the authors used that past to design a story or to augment the story.  

The Edge of Summer by Jessica Brockmole was a story about two people and WWI.  Part of the storyline was about soldiers coming back from the war with grotesque facial injuries. This was factual as well as how many people tried to help them with the making of face masks.  The masks were high technology for the time and were painted to match the soldiers facial features. Adding this element not only gave the story an element for the main characters to meet again, but allowed the reader to experience the horror of the war.   

Another example would be House of Dreams by Kate Lord Brown.  In this novel one of the factual story lines was about WWII when the Nazi’s were invading France.  There were a group of international rescue workers who worked tirelessly to get the artists, writers and other talented people out of France before they were arrested by the Nazis.  Knowing what these brave people did brought a realism and poignancy to the story line.  

14th Colony by Steve Berry starts with a premise that is not well known.  At one point the United States wanted Canada to join them as the 14th colony and then later as another state. Obviously it did not happen, but using that factoid in the story and then developing more of a story around it allowed you to be brought into the story wondering about what could’ve and or would’ve been. 

House on Primrose Lane by Yona Zeldis McDonough brought a fact in the past into a story in the present via another story.  Mary Blay was hung in 1768 in Portsmouth, NH for concealment of pregnancy.  The baby was born dead according to facts although at the time, many people felt she killed the baby.  This story is written as a story within a story and adds to the reality that the main character is an author who wants to write about a tragic happening in New Hampshire.  This also allows her to drive to different places in New Hampshire to investigate.

The four books were all read this month.  They were all new fiction with various settings and themes, meant to draw in the reader.  My fascination with unusual factoids and how they played out or at least played a role in a larger story allows me the realism factor when reading.  Imagine what small facts that you know that could grow into a fictional novel.  Yup and that is why I read - not write.

Recent Books:

House on Primrose Lane by Yona Zeldis McDonough

14th Colony by Steve Berry

House of Dreams by Kate Lord Brown

The Edge of Summer by Jessica Brockmole

I am reading er meditating

I have always known that reading makes me happier.  I love reading new books and find myself reading faster when I love the book and then I am sad when it has ended.  Perhaps that is why I am a series reading gal.  I get to keep revisiting the same characters (like Roarke and Ranger).

This week I read an op-ed piece about how there are studies that prove reading makes people happier (Can Reading Make You Happier? by Ceridwen Dovey). "Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm."

My family can certainly all tell you of times when no matter how hard they tried, I was very hard to pull out of a book.  I mean really really hard.  I can now say with some satisfaction that I was meditating. As a matter of fact, I think I am going to use that line for now on.  Please don’t bother me, I am meditating.  Granted it might be hard to pull that off when I am reading a bloody thriller with a psychopath - but I intend to try.  I wonder if I need a hat, maybe a tee shirt with the expression to help people understand.  

The article goes on to state, “regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers.” Okay so maybe all the parts don’t work for me. However in the spirit of our political candidates, I am going to ignore that fact.

There was a great deal about empathy as well.  The article spoke about how people who read fiction are better at empathy.  The mirror neurons in our brain fire when we read about an action or do the action ourselves.  So that means we have a better understanding when something happens to our friends and we can be more empathetic with them.  I guess this means another tee shirt or hat. What do you think?   Do not disturb, I might look like I am reading, but actually I am building empathy and meditating.  Or - I am reading to build empathy, so when you interrupt me - I will not rip off your head.  Maybe that is a little too harsh?

Marjaysreadingblog@gmail.com
martha lawton

Reading Speed

This week I had the opportunity to go back to college for just a quick visit to my old alma mater.  The college has been closed for years (After the late 80s many small liberal arts colleges failed.) and I have to admit, I had not been back for many many years.   I met a college friend and we hung out by what used to be the library on stone benches and shared about our lives.  At our feet there was a brick path that had bricks with names of people who also went to our college.  

I worked at the library for 3 years as my work study. Sometimes I was at the front desk and shelving books, but mostly I was back in the research section.  I realized at that point - how much I love the library and the world of books.  I loved to help people find information and the librarians suggested many times that I might wish to consider a career in library science.  It didn’t happen, but the lessons I learned in the library have help me in life.

  • If you don’t ask the right questions you rarely get the right answer.

Be clear about what you are looking for - otherwise you will not be able to find it.

  • Always put things away where they belong, stacking is not good.

I still need to learn this lesson. {sigh}

  • Books, like other things have time limits, attempt to stay within them. Sometimes you can renew something for a couple of more days and some things do not not ever leave.

I am not terrible with time limits - but I do tend to perseverate until the end.

  • There is a book for every person, even if they have not found it yet.

Sometimes more than one 8>)

  • Never judge a book by the cover

I am sure you have heard this before!

  • Librarians know where to find all sorts of cool information

Never play trivia games with them, unless they are on your team.

  • Perseverance does make a difference.

Keep looking - you will find what you are looking for.  It just might not look like what

you thought it would.

I felt in college, I did not ever have enough time to just read for pleasure.  I know that others have felt the same way.  I remember coming home from college so anxious for a story to carry me away. A novel full of suspense or love or fear or anything but facts and figures.  I know during the summers I inhaled books almost as if it would be the last chance to read ever again.  

For me, seeing the library, knowing that it is now serving new purposes was important but even with the new purposes it still connects people with books, hopes, dreams and practical advice.

Lessons from the library

“A book you finish reading is not the same book it was before you read it.” by David Mitchell

I took the week off, so for me it is vacation week.  I have a list of chores to be accomplished this week including the obvious ones of vacuuming, laundry and dishes.  However for those who know me, the longest part of my list are the books I want to read!  Right now the list is really long so I am not sure where to start.  It does not help that the Red Sox are finally back on and I have the MLB channel as well.

Some of the books are compliments of Net Galley, books that will come out later this month or early next month.  Some are from Rockstar PR and Literary Agency, books that use Rockstar for publicity.  I am lucky enough to be on their list for reading ARC. Some of the books are from the library (I hope if my number comes up). I have a list of five books that I am number 1 or 2 to receive once they ready to be borrowed.  Lastly, I have a bunch on the kindle that I would enjoy reading. After all, you all know I have an amazing amount on my TBR list.  

I have been thinking about the above quote since I first read it about a couple of weeks ago.  I am always sure that with each book I read, I change even if it is in the most miniscule of ways.   I have never thought of it in the opposite way.  

I know it is not just the wear and tear on a book once read: the cat hair or smidge of dirt, but how we see the book and its message.   Once you read a book, all your preconceived notions about the book are no longer.  Your prior connections and knowledge with the book changes as we take in the knowledge and change our notions.

Maybe that quote means for every way a book changes me, means the book changes in equal amounts to me.  It is like whether you are the hard object or the soft object, when they are hit together the result is almost always the same. 

WOW – imagine all the books that might change this week.  

Books Change

It was a beautiful weekend.  Sunny and warm with a bit of a breeze.  I loved being out in the air and sun with a book.  I am sure a number of you are shaking your head at me.  The spring just makes me want to be outside and well - read….

I finished a number of great reads this week including a couple that are coming out soon.  I knocked a couple off my to read list and - gasp - returned everything to the library!  Don’t worry - there are lots more on all my lists to read.  

The best of the books this week was Georgia by Dawn Tripp.  It was about the life of Georgia O’Keeffe.  I was introduced to her art by my mom, who loved the swarths of colors and the boldness of the subjects.  While the book was not a memoir, nor a biography, it was based on her life and the materials available about her life.  According to the author, the conversations and the letters were not accurate but based on her research.  No matter what the author said, I felt like I was immersed into her life and art.  I felt what she felt and was mesmerized by her visceral need to feel and see her art. I love that she was a feminist and wanted her art to stand for itself, not as a part of how the art community saw her with her relationship with her lover and later husband Alfred Stieglitz.  I found she was a remarkable woman ahead of her time.  I did not realize she had macular degeneration as she aged and lost her eyesight.   I enjoyed all the books I read this week and would recommend anyone of them, but Georgia really was great!

The next few days the weather is going to be up and down with rain showers and I am back to work. The week after that - VACATION!!! I am so looking forward to the time - to read - hopefully in the sun…  Happy Spring!!

My books this week:

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommends by Katarina Bivald

Because of Miss Bridgeton by Julia Quinn

Georgia by Dawn Tripp

While You Were Mine by Ann Howard Creel

Always for You: Jack by Alexis Morgan

Once Upon a Dream by Mary Balogh

Georgia O'Keeffe and Spring

I did not write a book blog last week.  I think the new TV with the Major League Baseball Stations and pure exhaustion finally caught up with me.  I was feeling that I had not enough time to read.  Perhaps the constant pull of the computer with its games was also pulling me away.  Who knows….  But I am back…

The Goodreads Community sent me an email that said. ” In our community of readers, you stand out in a notable way: You're one of the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads!”  Further down the message they added, “You've written 1323 reviews since joining Goodreads on April 26th, 2009.”  They also added that they have reached the 50 million review mark.  WOW!  The numbers kind have blown me away.  I don’t really think I understand what they mean, but it is cool none the less.

This has solidified my desire to continue on this path.  I was feeling discouraged and although my number of readers and followers have been steady, I have stopped growing as quickly as I had been.  This has made me realize how much numbers can say without really meaning a lot.  One percent sounds like a lot until you realize that there are about 25 million members and 50 million book reviews.  Suddenly one percent doesn’t sound as important and it makes me one of hundreds of thousands….  

So this week has been a catch up week for the students and I.  We have finished three more books with great acclaim from the students: The Boy on the Wooden Box, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and Soldier’s Heart.  My head was spinning toward the end as I am also still reading Marvin Redpost and the Orange Princess books at tutoring.  

At least my to read list took a good hit this week as I was able to finish the books for NetGalley that come out next week and am now reading a library book before it is due.  Baseball is important to me, but this week I was reminded that reading is equally important and I had been neglecting it.  Thanks for being some of my top fans!

Books this week:

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Soldier’s Heart by Gary Paulsen

Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline

Off the Hook by Laura Drewry

Fever at Dawn by Peter Gardos

 

I am reading:

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

The Top One Percent of Reviewers

Life is busy.  People are busy.  There are so many distraction within our life.  People coming and going. People are stressed about all the activities that they and their children are constantly in motion.  I hear parents planning out their daily pick ups and drop offs of children with military precisions.  

No wonder so many people speak about not having time to read in their life.  We are constantly being barraged by so much movement and choices.  Electronic and videos - immediate gratification of constant amusement is available 24/7.  Television with a gazillion channels, including all sorts of movies, sports and everything in between.  It is constant.

I have entered another level of constant entertainment, kicking and screaming.  The phone/cable/internet company I have used for years (and years) has determined that they will no longer offer cable.  This weekend I was hooked up with a dish and the resulting networks.  

I am overwhelmed.  The choices.  I have watched baseball all day and yes, one of the games was the Sox.  I have found the local news once.  I am sure with some more investigation I can find it again.  I found a station that plays jazz all the time.  I even found Star Trek Second Generation…

I know I will cease finding this amazing soon.  Even I will soon be too overwhelmed by all that baseball that I will turn it off.  I even think I will eventually find some of the things I like to watch on TV and then turn the TV off.  Meanwhile I need to just find time to read with another distraction.

 

a new distraction

Hurry Up and Wait seems to be the model for our world.  Everything needs to be done at breakneck speed immediately and then you wait...until it is your turn or time.  One of the best things in this world is that books don’t hurry up and make you wait UNLESS you are a serial reader.  You know who you are.  We wait for the next book in our series to come out and immediately jump when the book comes out.  We put off everything we possible can and read the book, rushing through it - because it is soooo good. And then we wait again.   That is me right now rushing and waiting.

Thank heavens for FictFact or I would never ever be able to keep track of what book in what series comes out when!  FictFact very nicely does that for me by maintaining a list of what books come out when.  Goodreads does a similar thing with their lists of books recommendations based on authors you have read in the past.  Occasionally books do get missed.  In my case, I missed that the newest Jacqueline Winspear book about Maise Dobb, Journey to Munich is out.  

I have distinct memories of searching through paperbacks and before I even read the back I would check the publishing date.  If it was quite recent, it probably was the next book in the series.  If not I probably already read it and put the book back.   Now even Amazon helps out by telling me I have already purchased a book for the Kindle with a little message across the top.

I am not sure how I used to keep track so I would not miss a book except with lists and longer lists of old books and when the new ones would come out.  After all I am a list maker.  I am just not an organized  keeper of the lists.  When I cleaned off my desk this week the number of scraps of papers with lists of various important things was quite tall and most of them were no longer needed.  Did I mention how grateful I am for Fictfact and Goodreads to keep me up to date?  Especially since I can no longer find books easily on my Kindle with its new operating system. (Sorry - still am not happy with Amazon. See last week’s blog.)

So yet again I have added another few books to my To Be Read (TBR) list with the help of the electronic systems I have found and use.  And yet I still hurry up and wait.  I quickly emailed the library to put my name on the reserve list for the new Maise Dobb’s book and I’ll wait until the book comes in and then I will quickly read the book and wait to write the review.  So I guess I epitomize the Hurry Up and Wait Model.  Not sure that is a positive characteristic I should encourage within myself.

My TBR list to be added to the longer TBR list

(already out) Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear

(April) The 14th Colony by Steve Berry

(April) Bounty by Kristen Ashley

(April) Till Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick

(May) Best of My Love by Susan Mallery

(May) Deep Dark by Laura Griffin

(May) Ginger’s Heart by Katy Regnery

Hurry Up and Wait

My kindle is one of my most used possessions.  I buy my purses and bags with an eye to the kindle fitting in safely. However recently the kindle has vexed me to no end.  (I always have wanted to use the word vex in a sentence.)  There was an unexpected and unwanted update with no warning.  

The home page problem is really two fold:  the new cover page and where the books are.  The new cover page leaves me a small square on the upper left corner of the home page with on cover of the book I am reading and two small covers of the last two I read.  Next to that, still on the top are a list of three books with the titles presented in a small font under my reading list. The bottom half of the home page lists book recommendations.  The recommendations are supposedly based on what I have bought or would like. Baloney - if that was the case why, of the five books listed, have I already purchased and read three of them some time ago?   And now - the two I have not seen before, I am less likely to look them up out of spite.

Just for the record we can thank Amazon and their team for finding a new way to throw more suggestions of books at me.  Like I need more suggestions!  Really I have 1,787 books on the kindle and in the cloud (not that I understand that much either) to read or have been read and I need suggestions?

Once you leave the homepage and move to My Library, you run into a morass of epic proportions.  First a bit of history.  This is my second kindle.  When I broke down and updated (It took five minutes to flip a page on the old one) I was unable to get all my old books and categories on my new kindle.  If I wanted to read one - first I would have to find it and then I could resend it to my kindle.  It was a pain, one that I complained about to Amazon.  With this new update - everything is now loaded on this kindle - old categories (like folders), new categories, old books, new books, and deleted books.  There is no order to the madness and I am once again floundering in the the unexpected.

So really what has Amazon done.  They have answered my concern by putting all books on the kindle with their newest update and have left me a MESS of books and categories to figure out.  Just when I became more sanguine to the change, I went on Goodreads today, to look up an author (to help me find a book) and now I know Goodreads is going to be updated also - with a new home screen and - yes, you guessed it - more recommendations.  

Screaming!!!!!!!!!

Updated Kindle

Another vacation week has slid by with remarkable speed and it is off to work I go tomorrow morning bright and early.  This vacation has been quite different for me.  I did read but it was different this time.   I did not have a reading list.  I usually do.  I did not have a stack of to-reads as I usually do.  

I do not often reread books.  To me, each new story and new characters really make my reading more enjoyable.  However, with my mother’s death and the subsequent arrival of my family what I needed changed.  This week I reread a portion of a series of books by Kristen Ashley called Colorado Mountain Series.  I found I needed something known yet unknown.  I have not read the books in order before and some I read several years ago, so this series was good for me to reread.

I realized when I was reading how much I do like the familiar.  I was not bored and wanted to keep reading even though I knew how the book ended.  I guess I should have realized as I prefer in general to read books that end happily ever after.  For me this was another discovery, I always thought that there were only a few books I would reread, but I was wrong.  I guess there is a wider range of books I would reread.  

The series I reread was Colorado Mountain Series by Kristen Ashley

The Gamble

Sweet Dream

Lady Luck

Breathe

Jagged

Kaleidoscope


This year the last book, Bounty in this series should come out in April. I guess I am ready for the new book.

Rereading

Who taught you how to love books and reading?  For me, it was my family specifically my Mom.  She made sure that there were always books in our homes.  When we were small, the books were at our level.  She did not care if we drew in them or treated them poorly.  She did not care if we could read them or had them memorized.  She wanted us to be readers.  

I did not read until halfway through first grade.  Mrs. Ames and Mom talked about how I had to stay back because I was not reading at all.  Somehow over Christmas break, I magically learned how to read.  When I went back to school, Mrs. Ames called Mom and congratulated her on all her work getting me reading.  Mom told her that she had not done anything, I was just ready.  

My Mom died a few days ago.  She read serious books, full of meaning and information.  She loved learning and wanted to always learn more.  There were books stacked up in our home, in corners and crevices. There were piles around the end of couches, piles on end tables and stacks on desks and chairs.

The tears this week were for the wonderful woman who knew I would read when I was ready.  The woman who didn’t censor my reading, but allowed me free range.  The woman who made sure I had money when I went into the bookstore.  The woman who spent hours trolling through the books with me and thought a good afternoon outing had to include books somehow, someway. The woman who only read books that were full of meaning and serious.

As she descended into the hell of her dementia, reading became a more painful activity.  Slowly she began to read less and less.  I noticed the books she read were ones she had previously read. I noticed she had begun to flip through them instead of reading.  The last couple of years, I was not sure how much she could read and understand, but I always made sure she had a paper and a magazine.  

Mom died this week after a long protracted illness. There were tears and laughter as we took one last road trip with her today, a woman who loved learning and wanted us to be readers.    

Becoming a reader

I have been on a reading jag this week. Emotionally this week has been hard so I have read numerous books to push reality back a bit.  It might not be the best solution, but it is the one I am using.  And let’s face it - we all have ways to destress our lives and beat back the blues.

I reread two of Kristen Ashley’s books about the fictional coastal town of Magdalen, Maine:  Soaring and The Will.  These books are two of my favorite romantic novels of all times.  The main characters are in their late 40s and seem on the surface to be totally unsuitable for each other! Yet somehow they find each other and make a life with love.  The books are longish and they are HOT, bus so good. They are full of hope, love, family and learning to trust and love all over again. There is another book  in this series that I am waiting for about the sheriff in town and I know I can not wait to read it.

I had a series of Netgalley books to read and review.  I have read three ofthem and will work on their reviews this week.  They were so different from each other that each one was able to stand out in their own way.  

No Cats Allowed by Miranda James is the second book in a cosy mystery series about a part time librarian and his Maine Coon Cat.  Murder does follow them and they cannot help themselves by asking way too many questions!  The cast of characters with Diesel (the cat) makes the books a fun read! The book is going to be released Feb 23rd.

A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Deborah Macomber was another great read.  The story line was about two women who were cheated on by their husbands (mother-in-law and daughter-in-law).  The pain and struggle was evidenced, but somehow so was the desire for happiness and holding up your head and moving forward.  I do not usually read Deborah Macomber books, but that is an error I can fix now.  The book reminded me of how hard and confusing life and love can be with the wrong person and how wonderful with the right person. It was a PC romance that allowed the positiveness to shine. Another release scheduled for Feb 23rd. 

Ruthless by Gillian Archer may have jumped the line - by a month or so.  It was a fabulous MC book with the True Brother’s MC front and center.  The main characters are Zag and Jessica - their chemistry almost burns your fingers!  As always MC books are not for the weak kneed readers.  Once you read it you will understand why it JUMPED ahead of other books in line. April 12th is its scheduled release date.

Lastly I read two historical romances:  The Gentle Knight and The Viscount Who Loved Me.  Historical Romances are my go to after bad boy romances.  In each book I was a million miles away, which is part of the point of a reading jag!  Ashley York in The Gentle Knight brought me back to the Normandy Invasion and the difficulty of life for a woman, while giving me a love story for the ages.   Julia Quinn brought me the Brigderton Family in The Viscount Who Loved Me.  I read the book originally a few years back, but his edition had a new ending - which was fun.  

A reading jag - by my definition must bring you outside yourself into the world of books.  These books did that when I needed it. Life is not always smooth or makes sense.  Reading brings to me peace.  Happy reading and Happy Valentine’s Day.  

A Reading Jag

I have been on a reading jag this week. Emotionally this week has been hard so I have read numerous books to push reality back a bit.  It might not be the best solution, but it is the one I am using.  And let’s face it - we all have ways to destress our lives and beat back the blues.

I reread two of Kristen Ashley’s books about the fictional coastal town of Magdalen, Maine:  Soaring and The Will.  These books are two of my favorite romantic novels of all times.  The main characters are in their late 40s and seem on the surface to be totally unsuitable for each other! Yet somehow they find each other and make a life with love.  The books are longish and they are HOT, bus so good. They are full of hope, love, family and learning to trust and love all over again. There is another book  in this series that I am waiting for about the sheriff in town and I know I can not wait to read it.

I had a series of Netgalley books to read and review.  I have read three ofthem and will work on their reviews this week.  They were so different from each other that each one was able to stand out in their own way.  

No Cats Allowed by Miranda James is the second book in a cosy mystery series about a part time librarian and his Maine Coon Cat.  Murder does follow them and they cannot help themselves by asking way too many questions!  The cast of characters with Diesel (the cat) makes the books a fun read! The book is going to be released Feb 23rd.

A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Deborah Macomber was another great read.  The story line was about two women who were cheated on by their husbands (mother-in-law and daughter-in-law).  The pain and struggle was evidenced, but somehow so was the desire for happiness and holding up your head and moving forward.  I do not usually read Deborah Macomber books, but that is an error I can fix now.  The book reminded me of how hard and confusing life and love can be with the wrong person and how wonderful with the right person. It was a PC romance that allowed the positiveness to shine. Another release scheduled for Feb 23rd. 

Ruthless by Gillian Archer may have jumped the line - by a month or so.  It was a fabulous MC book with the True Brother’s MC front and center.  The main characters are Zag and Jessica - their chemistry almost burns your fingers!  As always MC books are not for the weak kneed readers.  Once you read it you will understand why it JUMPED ahead of other books in line. April 12th is its scheduled release date.

Lastly I read two historical romances:  The Gentle Knight and The Viscount Who Loved Me.  Historical Romances are my go to after bad boy romances.  In each book I was a million miles away, which is part of the point of a reading jag!  Ashley York in The Gentle Knight brought me back to the Normandy Invasion and the difficulty of life for a woman, while giving me a love story for the ages.   Julia Quinn brought me the Brigderton Family in The Viscount Who Loved Me.  I read the book originally a few years back, but his edition had a new ending - which was fun.  

A reading jag - by my definition must bring you outside yourself into the world of books.  These books did that when I needed it. Life is not always smooth or makes sense.  Reading brings to me peace.  Happy reading and Happy Valentine’s Day.  

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Jeannie | Reply 09.05.2016 21.12

Tune out all around you. Go into another world. Yes, meditative!

Jeannie | Reply 18.04.2016 10.04

Will read Georgia. I have always been intrigued by her art, raises questions which this book might answer!

Kathy-CT | Reply 13.04.2016 20.05

According to Pew Research, nearly a quarter of American adults have not read a single book in the past year. How sad! Thanks for picking up the slack!

Ronda | Reply 22.02.2016 15.06

Thank you for sharing the wonderful and personal story about your mother and her effect on you as a reader. May you continue to find comfort in reading.

Jeannie | Reply 17.02.2016 11.51

Books are indeed a comfort as well as welcomed escape! We are lucky to love reading

Pauline | Reply 09.02.2016 10.17

Thank you for opening this style of writing with some fine examples. I never thought about this before.

Jeannie | Reply 10.01.2016 19.35

Loved the trend of this meandering. Can picture it all!

Jeannie | Reply 21.12.2015 18.12

Agreed! Intrigue and escape into other worlds!

Jeannie | Reply 21.09.2015 15.17

Really, Marti! Worth relinquishing books for interesting views like that!
Good to read about men, too, and conjure up our own variations of wonderful.

Jeannie | Reply 26.07.2015 10.59

Marti, this commentary is beautiful, poignant and an affirmation of living one's own life. Moreover, it is beautifully written!! Right to the heart.

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Latest comments

09.05 | 21:12

Tune out all around you. Go into another world. Yes, meditative!

...
04.05 | 20:38

Thank you for a wonderful review of A Wedding at Meadows Shore, and for taking the time to post in several places. Your kindness is very much appreciated! Eva

...
18.04 | 10:04

Will read Georgia. I have always been intrigued by her art, raises questions which this book might answer!

...
13.04 | 20:05

According to Pew Research, nearly a quarter of American adults have not read a single book in the past year. How sad! Thanks for picking up the slack!

...
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