not a review

July 2018’s Reverse Readathon

The wonderful people at Dewey’s 24 Hour Reathon hosted a Reverse Readathon this weekend. I only heard about it on Wednesday but I wanted to participate because, well, reading. I didn’t do anything correctly. I missed the prompts that were posted on the site, I didn’t know you were supposed to time yourself and I am now finding out that I didn’t even sign up properly! So, I suppose I participated in it renegade style. Still, it was a wonderful experience. Since I didn’t know about it far enough ahead I didn’t have time to clear my schedule. But, for 24 hours I made reading a priority and it has slapped some enthusiasm into me!

The Reverse Readathon, I would come to learn, was “reverse” because of the hours. This Readathon was from 8 p.m. Friday night until 8 p.m. Saturday night instead of the usual schedule (which I still don’t know for sure). So, Friday night I sat out my stack.

fullsizeoutput_fcd

Like I said, I didn’t know about the Readathon so I had a full day Friday but I still managed to finish Circe on my lunch break. Gorgeous, beautiful Circe. Sigh. I just couldn’t wait. I also ran to the store and stock piled like a teenage version of my brother and four of his friends were coming over that night. At 8:00 Friday night I promptly sat down and started reading.

killthefarmboy

I started with Kill the Farm Boy. Was that in my stack? No. No, it was not. But, I was half-way through it and hopped up on so much tea. I only read for two hours that night but I ate a full bag of chips and too many M&Ms. I have never been a night owl so off to bed I went.

At 6:30 the next morning I was reading again! After coffee and more coffee I finished Kill the Farm Boy and went directly to Regarding the Fountain: a Tale, in Letters, of Liars and Leaks by Kate and Sarah Klise. I needed a refreshing change if I was going to continue with this marathon of reading.

regardingthefountainI love the Klise sisters and I read this while I exercised. This book, like all of theirs, is thoroughly enjoyable. I love the format the Klise sister’s employ of using letters, drawn newspaper clippings and so very many puns and hilarious names. When the children finally figure out where the water in Dry Creek had gone I was finished with my biking (God bless recumbent bicycles) and ready to move on to my next book.

I decided to jump into Ready Player One and I had a couple of chapters finished when it was time for me to head to an afternoon appointment. Thankfully, I was able to listen to my audiobook version of Stuff Matters while driving to and from everything. I didn’t finish either book by the end of the 24 hour Readathon but I only have three chapters left in Stuff Matters, I am half-way through Ready Player One, and I got twenty more pages into Two Towers. More importantly, I had an absolutely fantastic time.

Lately, life has been busy and typically reading is saved for when everything else gets done. I read everyday (I couldn’t fall asleep without reading first) but it hasn’t been a priority since returning from Canada. Nor has my writing reviews (clearly). But the Readathon reminded me that when something is important you make it a priority. So, instead of watching television all Friday night and sleeping late Saturday I made time to read. And now, I am determined to keep that energy going as long as possible!

Another Readathon is scheduled for October and I am sure there are other people hosting similar events. If I have any hope of getting through my 2018 reading goals, I will need them.


Tell me, please!

Have you participated in a Readathon?


not a review

My Canadian Obsession

Many years ago I started developing a major crush on Canada. I grew up in the mid-west and Canada seemed just a exotic and far away as Mexico. Also, as a cold-weather lover, Canada seemed more suited for me. Basically, Canada is my tall dark and handsome Jacob and everything south is the Edward everyone else is into. In the past two years it has blossomed into a bit of an obsession.

Finally I had the opportunity to visit! For the last ten days I have been traveling through Canada – mostly Quebec. While I may have arrived home to my own bed last night completely exhausted and swearing to never travel again, this morning my crush continues. While I travelled I had a ton of time to read and listen to books and I burned through so many! And, I was “lucky” in that almost all of the book stores in Quebec were French only books so I only came home with two new books. I cleared five off my massive TBR and started a sixth so I am ahead (which is highly unusual for me). Wait, do the two French/English dictionaries I bought count? Er, I also purchased some on my Kindle – do they count if I already read them? Darn it. Hold on while I just climb right off my high horse.

Many reviews are coming and I cannot wait to catch up on what everyone else is reading!


Tell me, please!

Do you have any Canadian related reading recommendations?


 

not a review

Mid-Year Freak Out

Mid-Year Freak Out Tag!

I was tagged by the fabulous Maddie from Munch Reviews. I stumbled across her blog just recently but formed an instant connection – she has the heart of a true blue beautiful nerd and I have found more than a few fantastic reads on her blog. If you haven’t been to her site yet – take a moment and check it out. Thanks for the tag Maddie!

This is such a fortuitous tag because I really need to stay organized with my reading, challenges, logging my books, and reviewing for the year. This tag was such a swift kick in the butt to make sure I was staying on top of the organization part of my love of reading.

Below are responses to the mid-year freak out tag but if you are interested in how my 2018 Challenges are going feel free to check out my Challenges page.


Best Book So Far This Year

I have read a LOT of children’s fiction in the first half of the year but these two have been my favorites so far. The Seventh Most Important Thing and Bob are sweet and true like fantastic books need to be.


Best Sequel So Far in 2018

Penny Reid is my go-to recommendation for contemporary romance. Her books are smart, funny, and filled to the brim with women I would gladly pay money to be my friends. I have been waiting for Dan the Security Man’s story since her very first book. Scenes from the Hallway are short stories between Dan and Cat and Marriage of Inconvenience is their whole story finally told. I read Scenes several times and Marriage twice because Ms. Reid’s writing is just that good.


The New Release I Haven’t Read Yet but Want To

Madeline Miller’s first book remains as one of my


Most Anticipated Release for 2018

Are you sensing a theme here? Penny Reid has another book in a different series of hers coming out at the end of July. I cannot wait to read Roscoe’s story! And, Kill the Farm Boy debuts mid-July and I feel like I have been waiting for this book for a year.


Biggest Disappointment of This Year

HeartofIron

Ashley Poston’s Geekerella was one of my favorite books of 2017. I was beyond excited about her new re-telling of Anastasia but I think I out-hyped myself. This is the first in the series and I am really hoping that the second and third book will bolster this first book. It was far from bad but I was disappointed.


Biggest Surprise

Tim Peake’s Ask an Astronaut is so far outside of my comfort zone but it is such a fantastic non-fiction space read that I had a really hard time returning it to the library. I have also been reading a lot of graphic novels and The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang came out of no where (for me) and really affected me. It is such a gorgeous and heartfelt story that I cannot stop talking about it.


Favorite New to You or Debut Author

I first picked up Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple met Rishi to fulfill a challenge choice and just adored her first novel. I have been looking forward to reading her second novel From Twinkle, with Love but the book buying ban (and the wagon I’m back on) has kept me from picking it up. Thankfully, my June OwlCrate just arrived – with Twinkle inside! I’m finished it quickly and the review is coming soon. Both books are quick cute reads (perfect for summer) but I deeply appreciated the cultural references that gave the tried and true romance genre a lovely kick.


Newest Fictional Crush

While I love reading romantic interactions, typically what works for a romance story would make me insane in reality. The drama!!!  I just don’t have the energy.

Instead of fictional crushes I experience a third-wheel excitement for the couple itself. So, I can only give you all my favorite couple from this year:

Melanie Summers’ Crown Jewels trilogy is adorable and I really enjoyed watching Arthur and Tessa’s relationship develop. Similarly, The Hating Game by Sally Thorne had a swoon-worthy male and female character relationship but I wouldn’t have been able to handle that much drama and upset in real life. This book though is a must read for all romantic hearts.


New Favorite Character

This category has another tie between Keita Mori from The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and Amari from Children of Blood and Bone.


Book That Made Me Cry

All three of these made me happy cry.


Books That Made Me Happy

Every single book I review on SilverButtonBooks is a book that makes me happy because I don’t do negative reviews. But, here are two that surprised me by making me happy.

My Lady’s Choosing is an interactive romance book that took me right back to the choose your own adventure books of my childhood. Brazen is a graphic novel that highlights rebel ladies. Both books struck an unusual chord with me – My Lady’s Choosing for reminding me why I loved those crazy adventure books and Brazen for inspiring me to read more biographies.


Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

I don’t have a new one from this year! I have Simon on my shelf to read and I suspect that it will be high up there and Crazy Rich Asians was such a fun book but I haven’t seen the film yet.


Favorite Post You Have Done This Year

This would be my favorite post of the year. The Watchmaker is such a special book and the review flowed and I felt, for once, that my review actually encapsulated my love for this story.


The Most Beautiful Book You Bought This Year?

These two books I held and wandered around the store promising myself I would put them back. But, in the end, I just couldn’t. And, like any art form, I can’t really explain why these books appeal to me so much but they are my favorite from the first half of 2018.


Books to Read By The End of the Year?

Oh Lord, so many books! And they just keep publishing new wonderful books that I am desperately excited to read. And then I head over to the library to escape this wretched heat and I find more books to read.  I direct you again to my challenges page where I see that I really need to start on more historical fiction.


And there is it! My mid-year freak out. Sincere thanks to Maddie for tagging me and getting me to organize my thoughts with this tag. In return, I tag

Ryan,

Cathy (my favorite blog for historical fiction) and

Molly!


Tell me, please!

How is your 2018 reading going? Are you rock steady or freaking out?


not a review

Summer and Beating the Backlist.

It is May 31st and tomorrow is officially SUMMER in my book! I like to make summer goals. And, my main goal is to beat my backlist. I started out the New Year with this goal but I am floundering. That is actually a lie. Floundering is being kind to myself. I have read one book and purchased, um, thirtyish.

So, I sat down tonight and alphabetized and wrote down all of my beautiful books. I also pulled out at least ten that I knew I wasn’t really ever going to read. So, here is my backlist.

Drumroll please…..


Adeyemi, Tomi. Children of Blood and Bone

Albertalli, Becky. Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.

Alkon, Amy. Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck

Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Andersen, Laura. The Darkling Bride

Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid’s Tale

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice

Avi. The End of the Beginning

Bach, Shelby. Of Witches and Wind, the Ever Afters

Baltazar, Armand. Timeless. Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic

Banks, Angelica. Finding Serendipity

Bardugo, Leigh. The Language of Thorns.

Barrie, J.M. Peter Pan

Bartok, Mira. The Wonderling

Beagle, Peter S. The Last Unicorn

Beddor, Frank. ArchEnemy

Beddor, Frank. The Looking Glass Wars

Bradley, Alan. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches.

Broach, Elise. Shakespeare’s Secret

Brown, Peter. The Wild Robot Escapes

Carey, Edward. Heap House

Chainani, Soman. The School of Good and Evil, Book Two: A World Without Princes

Chevalier, Tracy. Remarkable Creatures

Clarke, Susanna. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

Cline, Ernest. Ready Player One

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me.

Congdon, Lisa. A Glorious Freedom

Connolly, MarcyKate. Monstrous

Coulthurst, Audrey. Of Fire and Stars

Dashner, James. The 13th Reality, The Journal of Curious Letters

Disney. The Jungle Book, The Stregnth of the Wolf is in the Pack.

Disney. Before Tomorrowland

Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Hound of the Baskervilles

Draper, Sharon M. Out of My Mind

Duane, Diane. So You Want to be a Wizard

Ende, Michael. The Neverending Story

Enzensberger, Hans Magnus. The Number Devil, A Mathematical Adventure

Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair

Foody, Amanda. Ace of Shades

Fowley-Doyle, Moira. The Accident Season.

Fowler, Christopher. Seventy-Seven Clocks

Funakoshi, Gichin. Karate-Do. My Way of Life

Gaiman, Neil. The Graveyard Book

Gaiman, Neil. Anansi Boys

Gaiman, Neil. Norse Mythology

Gaughen, A.C. Scarlet

Gerber, Stephanie. Caraval

George, Nina. The Little Paris Bookshop

Gold, Glen David. Carter Beats the Devil

Goodman, Alison. Eon

Gregory, Leland. Stupid History

Grey, Jacob. Ferals.

Gwynne, S.C. Empire of the Summer Moon

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Just Ella

Hannigan, Kate. The Detective’s Assistant

Harris, Joanne. Gentlemen and Players

Hirananadani, Veera. The Night Diary

Howard, A.G. Roseblood

Jinks, Catherine. Evil Genius

Keenan, Cayla. Catching Stars

Kelly, Victoria. Mrs. Houdini

King, Stephen. The Gunslinger, The Dark Tower

Klise, Kate. Regarding the Fountain

LeGuin, Ursula K. Earthsea, A Wizard of Earthsea

Levenseller, Tricia. Daughter of the Pirate King

Lewis, Elizabeth Foreman. Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze

Lloyd, Natalie. The Problim Childred

Mack, Tracy and Citrin, Michael. Sherlock Homes and the Baker Street Irregulars

Matas, Carol and Nodelman, Perry. Of Two Minds

Mielville, China. Un Lun Dun

Miller, Madeline. Circe

Miller, Tom. The Philosopher’s Flight

Mills, Emma. Foolish Hearts

Mogi, Ken. Awakening Your Ikiai

Nielsen, Jennifer A. The Sourge

Nix, Garth. Frogkisser!

Pearce, Jackson and Stiefvater Maggie. Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures

Proud, Linda. Knights of the Grail

Ricca, Brad. Mrs. Sherlock Holmes

Riggs, Ransom. The Sherlock Holmes Handbook

Riordan, Rick. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

Roach, Mary. The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Rowling, J.K. The Tales of Beedle the Bard

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Rowling. J.K. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Rubin, Gretchen. The Four Tendencies

Ryan, Pam Munoz. Esperanza Rising

Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye

Sappingfield, Eliot. A Problematic Paradox

Schwab, V.E. A Darker Shade of Magic

Shakespeare, William. No Fear Hamlet

Shakespear, William. Star Wars

Siegel, Daniel J. Brainstorm, The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain

Snicket, Lemony. Who Could That be at this Hour?

Snow, Alan. Here Be Monsters

Steer, Dugald A. Dragonology Chronicles, Volume One

Stiefvater, Maggie. Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Stiefvater, Maggie. The Raven King

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Fellowship of the Ring

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Two Towers

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Return of the King

Townsend, Jessica. Nevermoor, The Trials of Morrigan Crow.

Travers, P.L. Mary Poppins Comes Back

Tully, Daniela. Hotel on Shadow Lake

Walliams, David. Grandpa’s Great Escapes

Walton, Leslye. The Price Guide to the Occult

Yancey, Rick. The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp

Young, Adrienne. Sky in the Deep

Zevin, Gabrielle. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikery

Ziegler, Sheryl. Mommy Burnout

A Treasury of Favorite Poems

And there they are – all of my beautiful books for summer! I am going to try to avoid adding more but I won’t succeed. I spend the majority of my free time during summer soaking up the library’s air conditioning.


Tell me, please!

What do you think of my backlist?

Do you make Summer Goals?


not a review

2017’s Year of Reading and 2018’s Bookish Resolutions

There are some beautiful end of the year posts out there. And, a big thanks must be given to The Perpetual Page Turner for creating the survey that helps blogger and writers look back on their year of reading. Unfortunately, as I have lamented in the past, I am terrible at keeping track of my reading. So, my stats are no where near a true reflection of my book reading experience. Still, lets see the numbers!


Number of Books I read: 70. Mid-year I opened a Goodreads account for Silverbuttonbooks and deleted a very old and rarely used personal account. I was aiming for 100 and, while I think I reached it, we will accept Goodreads’ 70 as my final count.

Number of Re-Reads: Um, none because it didn’t occur to me to log these. Shoot.

Genre I enjoyed the most: Non-fiction!


Now, not only am I woefully unprepared to answer the 30 questions proffered by Jamie, but I’m not even organized enough to look it up. This is a travesty. But, one I plan to rectify next year. Still, I know enough to answer this question.

Best book I read in 2017

messy

I love this book. I borrowed this one from the library and I loved it so much that I purchased it and then I (annoyingly) read parts of it aloud to people. This book is the physical manifestation of the reasons I should not worry so darn much. In this book is enumerated the reasons to stop trying to control everything and just enjoy the mess.

 

 

 


As I read through the other questions and the wonderful end of the year posts put together by:

Maxxesbooktopia

PocketFullofPages

BookBakingandBlogging

AWhisperofPages

AdventuresofaBibliophile – holy infographics!

MudandStars

and

WhatCathyReadNext

I couldn’t help but realize that no matter how much I loved books, and regardless of my overwhelming desire to spread the good word of amazing stories, if I didn’t stay organized it was all for nothing. Sigh.


So, I move from my embarrassingly scanty 2017 statistics to my 2018 Reading Resolutions!

  1. I am committed to being more organized in my reading. I worry about using Goodreads because I don’t participate in negative reviews. But, there is a big difference between negative reviews on my site and logging what I read and my thoughts. Goodreads is now my go-to.
  2. I am committed to a Book Buying Ban for 2018 until I finish reading my huge physical TBR. Now, I must admit I already pre-purchased two books I am dying to read in 2018 and I have an emergency gift card ready to go. But, other than those two things, I MEAN IT.
  3. I want to read a wider variety of books. I want to read books that challenge me and expand my knowledge. To that end, I will participate in several different challenges.

My 2018 Reading Challenges:

I want to hit the Stenographer (10-15) level for the audiobook challenge put out by hotlistens.com

Obviously, I want to beat the backlist. This is a dual goal because it will also help me conquer that physical TBR! Thanks, NovelKnight!

The BookRiot Read Harder Challenge which will, hopefully, help me add diversity.

I’d like to participate in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Reading Challenge for 2018. I mean to every year because they are just too beautiful but I really feel this might be my year.

Finally, I tried this year, but I mean to successfully complete the When Were You Reading Challenge from Sam at Taking on a World of Words.


None of this will happen without carefully keeping track of my reading. Honestly, I would rather read another book then take the time to log the one I just read. But, I know I need to get over it and keep track. So, here is to my 2018 super organized end of the year post. Let’s have a wonderful, book filled 2018!


 

 

 

 

 

 

not a review

My Massive TBR Bookshelf

Recently, I admitted that my currently reading shelf on Goodreads is an utter sham. I use that designation to remind me which books are borrowed from the library in an attempt to prioritize reading them. Now I have another admission. The scanning capability on the Goodreads app and my total lack of self control has created a real problem on my TBR list and on my Un-Read Shelf at home.

Here is how it happens. I walk into one of my locally owned bookstores or a mega chain and I just started scanning all the books that look good to me. Those all go onto my TBR list. Additionally, I will see books in magazines or on the book blogs I follow and those go onto my TBR list. Then, family and friends give me books (or money for books, thank you people!) and I buy straight off this list.

Which brings me to the physical manifestation of this mess. It is an embarrassment of riches. I have nearly a full bookshelf of books I have purchased, were given to me or I liberated from somewhere all sitting and waiting to be read. But, when I can’t sleep at night do I reach for one of these books? NO. No, I do not. I go onto my Kindle and I buy another book. No self control at all.

I’ve brought this bookshelf up here before. I have told friends and family about it. But, I just keep adding to it! As I look at all of these books – they are so pretty – I vow they need to be read. But, I don’t. What to do?


Publicly shame myself.


Here they are, the nearly 100 books sitting on my shelf waiting to be read.

So, readers, where should I start? I mean, obviously I have to finish the $.99 book I bought last night…but then, how do I chip away at this massive pile? And, more importantly, how to do it quickly enough to reasonably ask for more books for the holidays?!?

 

not a review

Pet Peeve Resolved!

How many of us have been standing in the bookstore or library trying desperately to discern which book is next in a series only to be thwarted by a sale sticker or barcode? And what is up with some of the insane publishers who do not feel like adding a numeral to the cover? Then you look inside the jacket and try to figure it out. It’s no help! Finally, we pull out our trusty phones and head to a reputable bookseller website or Goodreads only to accidentally have a spoiler pop up! Can you tell this is a pet peeve of mine?

frustrated

Recently, one of my followers, Ann, suggested I read the new Bryant and May. I adored the first two in the Peculiar Crimes division so I tried to request it from the library. I was shocked at how many had been written that I had missed. I could not tell at all which was the newest without scrolling through pages of covers and synopses. Finally, I Googled, “Bryant and May books in order,” and there across the top of my computer screen were all the books with their publication date.

But, wait. Why doesn’t this work on my phone? Possibly, it is because my phone is stupid. Or, its me (also quite possible when technology and I cross swords). All I knew is that there must be an easier way.

Ta-da! There are whole websites and people (angels) devoted to letting the general public know which book comes next in a series. I found three great websites that are now my go-to devices when the 20% off at Barnes and Noble tries to keep me out of the loop.

The first, orderofbooks.com, is a fantastic site. I had a little trouble on my first visit finding the search section but it is right there at both the top and bottom of the right sidebar. Technology wins again! I really like that I can search by character or author or book series title.  This is particularly helpful when you love one series an author writes but not another. This was the most complete and searchable site I have found thus far. If you are looking to purchase the book there are links next to the title that will take you to Amazon. Dangerous…

The second website is from the Mid-Continent Public Library in Missouri. It is specific to Juvenile series and sequels and lists all the books alphabetically by series title, subject, book title or author. There is no search option. But since it is extensive, has multiple avenues to find your series and is specific to juvenile books it is an excellent resource. Some of these books I didn’t even realize were a series!

Finally, I found another fellow blogger out there fighting the good fight against reading books out of order – Graeme at BookSeriesinOrder.com. He lists the books in order by character or author. His site isn’t searchable and, interestingly, the authors are in alphabetical order by first name. But, he has those handy dandy links next to the books ready for purchasing from Amazon.

Now I am ready. Never again will I read something like, “After the death of the character you loved in the book you didn’t read yet, the story continues…”

Am I the only person who has this problem? How do you figure out which book comes next in the series?

 

not a review

WWW Wednesday

I have been following many of the blogs that participate in WWW Wednesday and in a heavily caffeine-induced moment of organization I find myself with a nice WWW list.

IMG_1384-0

 

WWW Wednesday is hosted every week by Taking On A World of Words and asks bloggers to answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you will read next?

 

What am I currently reading?

I have already started The Boys in the Boat and William Wenton and the Impossible Puzzle.  I accidentally (but perhaps subconsciously on purpose) requested the “adapted for young readers” version of Boys on the Boat from the library.  Between that and young William, the puzzle addict, I plan to spend my week pretending I am an 8-11 year old boy.

What did I just finish reading?

RedQueen

 

In the wee hours of this morning I finished Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I purchased this book so long ago that the trilogy is finished! This was a great first book and I cannot wait to read the rest of the adventure.

 

 

 

What do I think I will read next?

On my immediate to be read list are: Serafina and the Black Cloak, The Number Devil and The Girl Who Could Fly.  I recently visited The Biltmore Estate in North Carolina and I am completely obsessed with the estate and anything Vanderbilt. So, when I heard that there was a book series set in basement of the magnificent Vanderbilt home I knew I would have to read it.

The Number Devil was recommended to me by a ten year old girl. She told me she loved math. I may have responded with something like, “Math is my childhood nemesis.” She recommended I read The Number Devil. We shall see if this mathematical adventure can overcome my disinterest / distrust of numbers.

The Girl Who Could Fly is billed as a, “…mix of Little House on the Prairie and X-Men…” I simply have to read it!

Do any of this books interest you? Have you read anything on my WWW list? My list is a little heavy on the children’s section selections this time so if you are looking for something different head over to Taking on a World of Words today. The comments are full of great blogs all answering these same questions!

 

not a review

Summer Learning!

June 1st through August 31st is my summer. I don’t care if school has been out for weeks or is still in session and the weather is cold, June 1st is the beginning of my summer state of mind. So, happy summer to everyone!

During the school year there are just so many (too many) have to-dos. So, I like to keep a little list of things I want to do when I have time. I find that when I am busy my mind is overflowing with ideas of things I wish I had time to do. But, when I finally get leisure time I can’t remember any of them. I have a list of about 100 things on my Summer Bucket List and #1 is always, “Learn something.”

Now, I am not studying up on Algebra (barf) or reading medical journals. For summer I like to learn about things that really interest me. This summer I have my big three: palmistry, calligraphy, and chords.

I became interested in palmistry years and years ago. My interest was just a little old flickering flame until a snobby girl told me it was, “a sin to practice witchcraft.” Um, what?!? Hell, yes. Who’s a witch? I’m a witch!

But, I really did not keep up with practicing it and so I have forgotten more than I remember.  To remedy that I have gathered three books and I am already getting ready to practice my craft.

palmistry

This is the book that kicked off my interest. I picked it up in the bargain book section of Barnes and Noble all those years ago and I still love it. Palmistry by Lori Reid is a great basic groundwork on reading the lines of the hand and I will re-read it cover to cover.

art_palmistry

I sprung for The Art of Palmistry by Anna Southgate brand new and just paging through it I became so excited. It has hundreds more pictures of palms and hand types than my introductory book and I cannot wait to study them more in-depth!

masters_destiny

Masters of Destiny by Josef Ranald is one of those gems I found when digging through the used book section. For two dollars I took this book home and I didn’t really care if it was worthwhile or not. I was overjoyed when I got a chance to look through and found that it is a mixture of palmistry and biography! It has a little two page synopsis of famous people and the palm line that matches their most well known characteristic.  For example, Albert Einstein may have had the line of scientific genius. Did he really have the corresponding line? I don’t care – this is summer fun learning!

handwriting

My Mom send me Creative Lettering and Beyond and a gorgeous set of calligraphy pens for Christmas. I have gotten them out….once. I plan to work my way through the book this summer and use those pens UP.

jazz_theory

This book has a similar story. It was a gift and I was so excited to tear right into it. But, it should really be entitled Jazz Theory for the Jazz Historian, Accomplished Musician and Practiced Theorist. It is a difficult book to use without instruction. Thankfully, I have a great music teacher who was able to break down the different sections for me. This summer I want to master all of my chords.

So, there is my #1 Summer Bucket List already lined up. I cannot wait! Do you have any summer learning traditions?

nonfiction · not a review

What Should I Read Next?

It is Friday night. It has been a long week and you just want to relax. So, you turn on Netflix and you flip through the options, maybe start one or two, and find nothing that captures your interest? The frustration begins to build. So, you head over to Amazon Prime or maybe even shows you have saved for just this occasion and again, nothing feels right. Meanwhile, you have spend two hours looking and zero minutes. This is me for the last 10 days with my books.

Sometimes after reading a really great series or a new author I come out of the book’s world in a daze. Nothing seems as good as the book I have just finished. Usually this malaise or withdrawal lasts a day or two and I am back in my book-packed saddle. Occasionally, I sink into a true funk and I cannot find anything to suit my mood. I write you now from this dark place. I need a good book!

So, how do we figure out what to read next? I have a whole bookshelf of books yet to be read. I have an enormous stack of library books (photo below) that I requested and wanted but none feel quite right.  What do I do!?! Well, I actually own two great books designed to help me answer the question, “What should I read next?”

top10Books, Over 100 Top 10 Lists by Fid and Sue Backhouse is a compilation of lists broken into six major categories.  World of Books, Compelling Characters, Out of this World (Sci-Fi), Relativity (humans and their relationships), Imagine That (kids and teens) and Page Turners are the major categories. As a list lover this book is soothing in its organization. As a book lover I appreciate the breadth of choices. There are over 1000 books and the authors acknowledge the subjectivity of their lists. I would love to have a book club meeting about this book just to discuss some of the inclusions and exclusions. I would also like to break one of my cardinal rules and write in this book – just check away at all the ones I have read.

1001BooksHallie Ephron, Ph.D is a prolific writer from a writing family and her book 1001 Books for Every Mood is my go-to when I cannot seem to find something to read. Do you want a book that will make you laugh? She has solid suggestions. What about a book to celebrate friends or one to celebrate the seasons? Covered! This book really does have something for whatever mood you are in and I really appreciate the ranking system that includes twelve different bits of information ranging from the literary merit to whether the book was family friendly or made into a movie. This book is out of print but if you see it, grab it.

After thumbing through these books and finding nothing to sate my literary thirst I turn to the internet for answers. Can the Book Seer help me? This website is hilarious and sometimes I just like to plug in books to see what I will get back. Book Seer will give you recommendations from Amazon and it used to give you recommendations from LibraryThing.

I enjoy Book Seer mostly as a little game to see if I agree with the website’s answers. Book Seer is brought to the world by Apt Studio and their blog post about the Book Seer’s analytics is a fascinating look into the mind of a person in need of a book. It is a fun place to start and I have found books this way.

If not, maybe Whichbook can help me! Whichbook is another wonderful website that allows you to use toggles to limit the searches so that you can get a (1) really happy book that is also (2) unexpected and (3) short.  Or, you can have an (1) easy (2) optimistic (3) scary book.  You can also change the toggles to search by character, plot or setting. Whichbooks has what they call “W” lists as well and you can read through their lists or guests lists and create your own.

I have found that Whichbook gives me a much more varied result to my queries than other websites. You can also read a little excerpt from the book, get parallels or books that are very similar or even use a book as a jumping off point to find more books. The toggles take some getting used to but I enjoy them and this is a website I turn to frequently for ideas.

And, of course, there is Goodreads. Goodreads was my first book-based website crush.  “It’s like Facebook for people that like to read!” I cried. I can see what my friends are reading and give and take suggestions! Authors on Goodreads will talk to me through the magic of the internet! This is amazing!!

But, then my crush talked to me and ruined it. Goodreads is great but it can be overwhelming. I never remember to plug in the books I have read. I am just not great at consistently using it. It is not hard to use, it is just my fault for not following through. The real deathblow for our relationship came when I got a smartphone and found out that I could scan books into my list. Then I was a woman on a mission. That mission seems to be: Make as long a to-be-read list as possible.

And here is my actual problem. I have loads of things to read. I am rich in books. I just need to suck it up and take my Mother’s advice. “Give it three chapters,” she would tell me. If I wasn’t immersed after that I could put the book down.

Like skimming through titles on Netflix I just keep reading the first 10 pages of a book and then tossing it aside. I need to jump into the story with both feet and take my hand off the remote (or, in this case, the next book).  Only then do I stand a chance of really entering into the world the author was trying to create. When I have finished reading this stack of books and the ones on my bookshelves then I can ask, “What Should I Read Next?”

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