Shelfie by Shelfie // Shelf 1C

Last fall, Bibliobeth started a new book tag, Shelfie by Shelfie.  You can see her original post here (and her most recent Shelfie here) – and I’ve nabbed her image as well.  :-D  The concept is that you take a picture of a bookshelf, and then answer ten questions about the books on it.  I have about a billion bookshelves, so I thought that I would give it a go!

Well, it’s been quite a while since I have posted a shelfie – I went through a pretty long spell of having the blogging blues and have been struggling just to somewhat stay on top of book reviews!  But I am mostly caught up now and thought I would take a minute to present the latest Shelfie installment!!

Shelf 1 – excuse the piles of random stuff… remodeling never ends in this house! :-D

Currently, I am posting about Shelf #1, and have already looked at the top to shelves – 1A and 1B.  Today we’re on to Shelf 1C!!

1 – Is there any reason for this shelf being organized the way it is, or is it purely random?

My fiction is somewhat organized by author’s last name, but as you can see, these aren’t really linear shelves – my husband custom-built these shelves for me (marry a man who builds shelves, ladies!), purposely creating little cubbies and odd-shaped shelves so that they could hold both books and knickknacks.  So sometimes instead of going in strict author-order, I put in the books that fit… and that’s what’s happening here.  These are taller books, mostly by Marguerite Henry… because the shelf the rest of her books are on is a lot shorter!!!

2 – Tell us a story about one of the books on this shelf that is special to you; i.e. how you got it, a memory associated with it, etc.

As a girl, I loved horses and dogs and cows (although not a lot of cow books out there), and C.W. Anderson was one of my heroes.  (Actually, I named my cat after him – Clarence.)  I checked Twenty Gallant Horses out of the library ALL THE TIME.  I was completely enraptured by the stories of these thoroughbreds, and read them time and again.  Years later, I was at the library book sale… and the EXACT copy I had read as a child was in the discard pile!  I snatched it up for a quarter!  Honestly, it was somewhat bittersweet.  While I was pretty thrilled to get a childhood favorite for my permanent collection, it’s sad to me that this book isn’t in the library for some other young girl to love!

3 – Which book from this shelf would you ditch if you were forced to and why?

Oh gee, I guess Black Gold.  While I do love that book – especially the illustrations – it’s such a sad story!!

4 – Which book from this shelf would you save in an emergency and why?

Hmm.  I’m not really sure any of these are necessarily emergency worthy, but I think I would choose Misty of Chincoteague.  I reread it recently and was surprised that I enjoyed it even more as an adult than I did as a child.

5 – Which book has been on this shelf for the longest time?

Probably either Misty or Justin Morgan Had a Horse.  Both of those I’ve owned since I was probably around 10 – long enough ago that it was before I started writing my name and the date on the flyleaf!  I collected horse books for a long time, and these were some of my earliest library additions.

6 – Which book is the newest addition to this shelf?

These are honestly all kind of oldies.  Wagging Tails is probably the most recent purchase, though – I bought it a few years ago at an antique shop.

7 – Which book on this shelf are you most excited to read (or reread if this is a favorite shelf)?

These are all old favorites, but Brown Sunshine of Sawdust Valley is actually on my #20BooksofSummer list, so hopefully I’ll be getting to that one before September!!

8 – If there is an object on this shelf apart from books, tell us the story behind it.

I probably should have turned around the frisbee-catching cow before taking the picture so you could see her better.  :-D  This is one of my favorite knickknacks – my dad gave it to me a long time ago.  The title of the piece is “Daisy’s Dream” and it makes me grin every time I look at it.

9 – What does this shelf tell us about you as a reader?

That I had a definitely addiction to horse books as a child!!

10 – Choose other bloggers to tag or choose a free question you make up yourself.

I highly encourage everyone to give this lil Q&A a whirl, as it is great fun!

For a free question,

Tell more about the illustrators of the books on this shelf.

I just really feel like I need to at least mention the amazing artwork of Wesley Dennis, who illustrated the majority of the Marguerite Henry books, and C.W. Anderson, who did his own artwork for his books.  I love both of them so much, and still snap up any book I find that they’ve illustrated, regardless of whether or not I’m actually interested in the book.  Both artists do so much with simple line drawings, although Dennis also did many full-color illustrations as well.

I poured over their artwork as a child and yearned to be able to draw even half as well as either of these artists.  I still can only draw stick figures, but at least I have the joy of being able to study their illustrations whenever I want.

Wesley Dennis

Wesley Dennis

C.W. Anderson

C.W. Anderson – from the Billy & Blaze books, more childhood faves!

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#20BooksofSummer – The 2018 List

Cathy746 hosts #20BooksofSummer annually, and I have participated for the last two years. This is the most chill challenge ever, which is one of the reasons that I love it.  You choose how many books you want to read (10 or 15 or 20 or whatever), you choose your books, you decide if you hate half your books and want to switch them other books…  it’s honestly kind of a free-for-all in which participants try to read whatever books they’ve put on their summer reading list!  The challenge already started (beginning of June), and the goal is to have all the books on the list completed  by September 3.  Be sure to check out Cathy’s blog for more details!!

I’ve been watching other blogs I follow choose their books, and have been trying to decide if/how I want to join this year.  Here’s the thing – and I’m not trying to brag here because it’s just the way it is – but unless something catastrophic happens in my life, I know I’ll read more than 20 books this summer.  I’ve read over 130 books just this year alone already.  The truth is, I have a serious reading problem.  It’s basically a compulsion with me, and I read at pretty much every moment that can be spent reading (and a great many that shouldn’t be).  And since my mom taught me to read at almost the same time I learned how to talk, I’m weirdly fast at it.  Actually, part of the reason I started this blog back in the day was to help me work on reading retention/analysis, because otherwise I sometimes tend to just go into overdrive and let the words blur past.  And, of course, there’s the fact that I don’t work full-time.  While I keep plenty busy with house, garden, Etsy shop, chauffeuring family, etc., it’s obviously a lot easier to sneak in a chapter here or there when I’m at home all day than it is when I’m at work!!

ANYWAY.  Point being, I think the way that I’m going to challenge myself is by listing 20 books that I own that I would like to read by the end of summer – but I’m going to continue reading all the other books like I usually do as well.  Basically, I’m always working on books on the TBR that I don’t own (aka library books), a series of books, a mystery series of books, a nonfiction book, and a book that I own.  So I’m going to keep reading all the others like usual… and also try to achieve the 20 that I own!  To help make it slightly more doable, I’m sticking with fiction only.  So, without further ado, the list (chosen via random number generator!):

1. The Vanishing Shadow by Margaret Sutton – this is actually the first book in the Judy Bolton series.  I own a bunch of these books, but haven’t read them in years.  Actually, there are several I’ve never read, because I’ve purchased them since I originally read what I owned at the time.  I’m looking forward to revisiting these and seeing if I enjoy them as much as I remember from 15 or so years ago.

2. Ring of Truth by Jaclyn Weist – this is a free Kindle book I’ve had for a while.  Looks like a happy lil chick lit, but it’s also the first in a series, so if I like it, I’ve actually set myself up for six more books!

3.  Frederica by Georgette Heyer – I read this one back in 2012 (when I was blogging on Tumblr) and enjoyed it so much that I purchased my own hard copy.  I’m excited to revisit it.

4. Scotty by Frances Pitt – I picked up this book, subtitled “The Adventures of a Highland Fox” all the way back in 2001 – and have never read it!  You now basically know everything I know about this book!  Aside:  This is the ONLY picture of this book I can find, and it isn’t listed on Goodreads.  This may actually be a picture of the copy I own…

5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle – I know I read this book back in the mists of my childhood, but I remember basically nothing about it except the bit with a thread and the ant.  I don’t even remember whether or not I liked it!  But it’s sort of a classic, and I feel like I need to reread it, even if it’s to discover that I actually think it’s lame.  I’ve had my paperback copy since 1999, when I did a 4-H presentation at the library with my rabbit and was rewarded with a book!

6. The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit – I love Nesbit so much and can’t believe that I haven’t read every single one of her books!

7. Everblue by Brenda Pandos – another free Kindle book from goodness-knows-how-long-ago.  Also another first in a series… I never know whether or not I should hope to like those… anyway, this one is about mermaids or something, so we’ll see what happens.

8. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – I realize I just read this one in 2016, but I enjoyed it SO much that I’ve been wanting to reread it.

9. Mystery Over the Brick Wall by Helen Fuller Orton – this is a children’s mystery published by Scholastic.  I’ve collected a lot of these over the years and have been trying to actually read all of them and make a hard decision as to whether or not they are worth the shelf space.

10. When Patty Went to College by Jean Webster – this is by the author of two my favorite books:  Daddy-Long-Legs and, even more beloved, Dear Enemy.  Somehow, although I’ve owned this book since 2004, I’ve never actually read it!

11. Kilmeny of the Orchard by L.M. Montgomery – I love so many of Montgomery’s books, and yet it’s been years since I’ve read any of them!  This one probably hasn’t been visited since high school, so although I remember the basic premise, I’m a bit foggy on the details.

12. Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins – although I enjoy some chick lit now and then, I’ve somehow never gotten around to reading something by the prolific Higgins.  This book showed up in a box with all those crazy Love Inspired books via Aunt Darby, so I’ll give it a shot.

13. Elizabeth Bennet’s Deception by Regina Jeffers – since I obviously haven’t read enough P&P variations lately, let’s add one to the summer list, too!  Thanks, free Kindle books!

14. Young Pioneers by Rose Wilder Lane – another one I haven’t read in YEARS.  All I really remember from this one is the story where it was so cold that when she threw the water out, it froze before it hit the ground!

15. Utah Lion by James Ralph Johnson – another crazy animal story from my crazy animal obsession childhood!  I think this one was inherited from my great-grandma, but if I have ever read it, it was back in middle school.

16. Saving Mars by Cidney Swanson – another free Kindle book that is also a start of a series.  (This is how they trick you into actually BUYING Kindle books, by getting you hooked on a series opener!)  Sometimes I literally have no idea what I was thinking when I got a book, even if it was free…

17. Collie to the Rescue by Albert Payson Terhune – it’s been a while since I picked up a Terhune!  I’m always up for some outrageously heroic collies.

18. Early Candlelight by Maud Hart Lovelace – I loved the Betsy-Tacy books soooo much when I read them a few years ago.  I found this book by the same author but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.

19. Smoky by Will James – because who doesn’t love a good story about a cowboy horse?

20. Brown Sunshine of Sawdust Valley by Marguerite Henry – I loved a lot of Henry’s books as a child (and have revisited several of them in recent years), but don’t remember this one clearly, other than that it was one of her later books, written after Wesley Dennis died and so illustrated by someone else.

So there you have it!  I’m determined that there will be no substitutions unless I decide to DNF a book, in which case the book will only count if I”ve read at least half of it.  (Don’t you like the way I make up my own rules??)  Who knows how far I’ll get on this list, and you’ll definitely see plenty of reviews for non-20 Books of Summer books, but I’m curious to see if my challenge works for me.  Stay tuned!

Rearview Mirror // April 2018

Well another month has come and gone.  April both seemed to last forever and to also flash past (did anything even happen in April?!).  Here in Ohio the weather was very ICK for basically the entire month.  Usually we get a month of warm days and cold days mixed together, but this year it was just the cold, dreary (and even snowy!) days dragging by.  It’s finally warmed up this week, which helped me realize how much the lousy weather had been getting me down!  I’ve felt so much more energized with the warm sunshine coming through the open windows!

It hasn’t been that great of a month for blogging, either, as I’m still just not particularly feeling it.  So I’ve had another month comprised mostly of minireviews, and still have quite the backlog of books that need mentioned.  The lousy weather meant April was a pretty good month for reading, even if I haven’t felt much like reviewing!

Favorite April Read

I think I’m going to have to put The Runaways (by Elizabeth Goudge) in this slot.  This children’s book was just so precious and magical.  I loved every page and wanted it to go on forever.

Most Disappointing April Read

Probably Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright.  There was a lot of potential for this concept, but all the characters were just so flat and uninteresting.  The ending was weird, too.

Other April Reads

  • Adam Dalgliesh mysteries by P.D. James – I read the first 4 1/2 books… they just weren’t for me.
  • The Black Stallion by Walter Farley – 4/5 – a childhood favorite revisited.
  • The Changeling Sea by Patricia McKillup – 3/5 – a decent story, but somehow not magical.
  • Come On, Seabiscuit by Ralph Moody – 4/5 – surprisingly engaging biography of an underdog racehorse.
  • Don’t Believe a Word by Patricia MacDonald – 3.5/5 – not bad but not amazing.
  • The Foundling by Georgette Heyer – 4/5 – how are all of her books so delightful??
  • The Good Girls by Sara Shephard – 4/5 – a crashing conclusion to a duology… still have no idea why there is an ice cream cone on the cover.
  • The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge – 5/5 – not sure it’s possibly to write a book that is more magical.
  • The Man Who Made Lists by Joshua Kendall – 4/5 – a decent biography of Peter Roget, but I wasn’t a total fan of Kendall’s writing.
  • The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard – 4/5 – a book that made me like it more than I wanted to.
  • The Princess by Lori Wick – 4.5/5 – an old favorite revisited.
  • Ride Like an Indian by Henry Larom – 3.5/5 – a cute children’s book, but nothing amazing.
  • Timeless Fairy Tales by K.M. Shea – a series of 10 books so far – decent retellings with some stories a lot stronger than others.

Last April…

I actually wrote the April 2017 Rearview in June!  The last two springs have been very busy with me working full time at the greenhouse.  This year, I’m not working there, so I’m at least a little more prompt getting this post done!  :-D  Interestingly enough, last April’s favorite read was also by Elizabeth Goudge – The Scent of Water went on to also become my favorite read of 2017.  I still can’t recommend it highly enough.

I also read my first (and last!) John Green book.  Paper Towns was just as overrated and pretentious as I anticipated it being, just as the author himself seems to be.  No surprises there, and with literally thousands of amazing books out there to read, I’m glad I don’t have to wade through any more of his twaddle.

TBR Update

For those of you who don’t know, I’m weirdly obsessive with organizing the TBR, and have it on a spreadsheet divided into five different tabs:

  • Standalones:  822 (up three)
  • Nonfiction:  79 (down two!)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  690 (down five!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  230 (holding steady)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 108 (down one)

While there haven’t been any dramatic changes, I do feel like I am very, very, very slowly whittling away…

Awaiting Review

I really thought I was going to get some more of these cleared out before the end of the month, but here we are!

  • I’ve  been rereading Gerald Morris’s Squire Tale books.  I’d forgotten just how funny and engaging these books are!  I have two left in the ten book series.  While I’ve read the earlier books several times, I’ve only read these last two once before, so I am looking forward to revisiting them again.  I can’t believe how long it’s been since I read these!
  • The next batch of five “Love Inspired” books have been read.  Spoiler alert: I have no idea why I keep reading these.  In memory of Aunt Darby, I guess.
  • My current mystery series is the Under Suspicion series by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke.  These have been SO good.  Only two books left, but I’m hoping maybe more are still in the future, as the most recent one was just published in 2016 or 2017, can’t remember which.
  • The World of Captain John Smith by Genevieve Foster – absolutely delightful children’s history book.
  • Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield – another long-ago favorite that has taken me a couple of decades to revisit, and I don’t know why – this book is PERFECT.
  • I’ve been reading the Royal Weddings series by Rachel Hauck, which has been overall solid.  One and a half books to go on that set.
  • The Girl With a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson – total throwback-noir vibe to this one that I weirdly enjoyed.

Current Reads

  • The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – a retelling of The Arabian Nights that I think I’m going to like but am not sure. Only about 80 pages in.
  • The Widow by Fiona Barton – just picked this one up today, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it around the blogosphere so I’m looking forward to it.
  • How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck – the third book in the Royal Weddings series.
  • The Sleeping Beauty Killer by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke – the current Under Suspicion read – I’m only about 30 pages in and am already so hooked.

Approaching the Top of the Pile

The probably next five reads…

  • The Rose & the Dagger by Renne Ahdieh
  • Every Breath You Take by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke – last in the series
  • A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck – last in the series
  • Missing, Presumed by Susie Stiener
  • The Rosemary Tree by Elizabeth Goudge

Happy May!!!

Shelfie by Shelfie // Shelf 1B

Last fall, Bibliobeth started a new book tag, Shelfie by Shelfie.  You can see her original post here – and I’ve nabbed her image as well.  :-D  The concept is that you take a picture of a bookshelf, and then answer ten questions about the books on it.  I have about a billion bookshelves, so I thought that I would give it a go!

Welcome to another edition of Shelfie by Shelfie! As I mentioned in my first post, I have roughly a million shelves.  I’ve started with what I consider to by Shelf #1, because it’s where my shelved-alphabetically fiction begins.  Last time I did the top shelf, and today we are onto the second!

This is Shelf 1 (we’re remodeling, so there is kind of stuff everywhere)

In case you missed the last Shelfie post, basically I’ll post the picture of the shelf, and then answer some questions about it.

Shelf 1B

1 – Is there any reason for this shelf being organized the way it is, or is it purely random?

For the most part, I keep my fiction shelved alphabetically by the last name of the author, in traditional library fashion.  There are, of course, exceptions, but this particular shelf is pretty true to method.

2 – Tell us a story about one of the books on this shelf that is special to you; i.e. how you got it, a memory associated with it, etc.

Oh wow, this is a tough one on this shelf, as there are some definite favorites here.  I love the Chronicles of Prydain so much, and C.W. Anderson was a childhood hero – I found those books at a library discard sale and was SO excited.  But I think I’m going to have to focus on Mr. Popper’s Penguins, which is honestly just a ridiculous story that I loved so much as a kid.  I very clearly remember Dad reading this one out loud to us kids and just how overwhelmingly silly the story was, but in a really fun way.  The illustrations by Robert Lawson also tell so much of the story.

3 – Which book from this shelf would you ditch if you were forced to and why?

Probably Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander, mainly because I’ve owned it for years and never gotten around to reading it.

4 – Which book from this shelf would you save in an emergency and why?

I’m not hardcore attached to any specific edition of a book on this shelf, but probably one of the hardcover C.W. Anderson books, as they are the actual ones I used to check out of the library as a little girl!

5 – Which book has been on this shelf for the longest time?

I think the book I’ve owned the longest is The Mysterious Schoolmaster by Karen Anckarsvard.  You can’t see very well in the picture, but there are several books by her.  Set (and written) in Sweden, four of the books take place in the same town and involve some of the same characters, starting with Schoolmaster, which focuses on an unlikely duo of two children who end up helping to catch a spy.  This book is just so fun and happy and full of warm family moments.

6 – Which book is the newest addition to this shelf?

The bright book towards the far right is actually a soft, leather-bound edition of Persuasion that I purchased with my birthday money last year (but of course haven’t gotten around to reading yet…)

7 – Which book on this shelf are you most excited to read (or reread if this is a favorite shelf)?

It’s been a pretty long time since I’ve read any of these books, so I would be happy to pick up any of them.  Talking about The Mysterious Schoolmaster makes me want to read those books again, though!

8 – If there is an object on this shelf apart from books, tell us the story behind it.

Since these tend to be knickknack shelves as well as bookshelves, there always seem to be other objects!

The dragon picture is fancy-pants artwork created by my very own sister, who drew the dragon, and our cousin, who created the background.  I love that lil two-headed dragon!  The collie is a childhood companion who has traveled with me through the years – I’ve always had a soft spot for collies and border collies!  The rock in front of the collie is actually from England – a friend brought it back for me (I’ll get there myself someday!).  The teacup is my very own from girlhood – Mom used to have fancy tea parties with us (brothers included) and everyone had their own cup and saucer and we sipped hot chocolate and ate Little Debbies that had been cut into small pieces and felt very grown up.  The other photos are from our honeymoon in the Keys.

9 – What does this shelf tell us about you as a reader?

Um I guess that I like to keep things organized, and also that I hang onto to random little things that have happy memories associated with them.

10 – Choose other bloggers to tag or choose a free question you make up yourself.

Of course hopefully everyone will join in, as this is a super fun way to see everyone’s book collections!!  For a free question –

What is a quote that you love from one of these books?

I really love Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles, and Taran Wanderer may be my favorite of the five.  As Taran wanders through the country, meeting people and trying to understand life, he comes across many different philosophies.  One of the reminders that I love best is –

If I fret over tomorrow, I’ll have little joy today.

On Swearing in YA …

Yesterday I grumbled a bit about swearing in a YA book I recently read (and greatly enjoyed), Kids of Appetite.  While I still don’t like swearing in general, and especially in YA, it was random because that same exact day I saw Maggie Stiefvater address the topic on her Twitter.  Someone had tweeted her saying that they had enjoyed the lack of profanity in Stiefvater’s most recent book, All the Crooked Saints.  Stiefvater replied:

Intentional! Scorpio Races is also mostly without swears. Pip Bartlett is 100% profanity free. I use it as shorthand — if I think a book has difficult content a younger reader ought to talk through with an adult, I throw in swears to make sure it gets labeled for older readers.

Difficult content, in my opinion: suicide, self-harm, abuse, drug or alcohol use, an excessive number of Latin verbs.

While I can’t imagine that every author uses (or doesn’t use) swearing as thoughtfully, I thought that it was an intriguing methodology, and a reminder that just because I like or don’t like something that an author has done, doesn’t mean that that thing was done thoughtlessly.

Opinions?

Shelfie by Shelfie // Shelf 1A

Last fall, Bibliobeth started a new book tag, Shelfie by Shelfie.  You can see her original post here – and I’ve nabbed her image as well.  :-D  The concept is that you take a picture of a bookshelf, and then answer ten questions about the books on it.  I have about a billion bookshelves, so I thought that I would give it a go!

Luckily, my husband is pretty awesome at building shelves, and about three houses ago we had a really long, wide hallway that seemed perfect for bookshelves – and it was.  Except we were renters, which meant we were moving pretty much annually at the time.  The shelves have come with me for every move since then (and since we own this house, here’s to hoping they stay where they are for many years to come!), but haven’t always fit together in the same order as they did in that original hallway.  Still, they are pretty awesome, designed for both books and knickknacks.  So I’ll post a picture of the overall bookshelf, and then focus on just one of those shelves – hence the 1A.  ;-)

You’ll have to excuse the clutter – we’re still doing renovating (neverending) and this room is the current catch-all.  I’m sure taking these pictures will also inspire me to organize the clutter a bit, right??  (ha!)

Okay, here is today’s shelf – on to the questions!

 1 – Is there any reason for this shelf being organized the way it is, or is it purely random?

The majority of my fiction books are shelves in alphabetical order by author’s last name, with some exceptions here and there.  I look at amazing pictures of people shelving books by size or color or other aesthetically-pleasing methods and I’m jealous, both of their creativity and the fact that if I did that I would never be able to find a book again because there are just TOO MANY.  :-D  So yes, alphabetical – and this shelf takes us from Adjordan to Alexander.

However, there are some exceptions to my alphabetical rule, and the three books under the moose are an example – those are three of the four Bayern books by Shannon Hale (the first one seems to have wandered off to introduce someone else to the magic of this series).  Sometimes books just fit in certain spots in the shelves!

2 – Tell us a story about one of the books on this shelf that is special to you; i.e. how you got it, a memory associated with it, etc.

I think I’m going with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (by Joan Aiken) for this one.  I have so many memories of reading this with my Mom!  We used to read it together every winter, and even when I was too young to really ‘get’ the story, I still loved the feelings it invoked.  This is the first book I can remember reading that really had an ‘atmosphere’ – just reading it made me feel cold and made the room seem a little darker!

It’s a tough question, though, because I also have a deep attachment to all of the Louisa May Alcott books, especially Eight Cousins and its sequel, Rose in Bloom.

3 – Which book from this shelf would you ditch if you were forced to and why?

Well, it seems like the logical answer would be “one of my many copies of Little Women,” especially since the two copies on that shelf are not actually the only copies of that book that I own.  But that’s not the answer at all, because every copy of Little Women that I own has its own story and its own special place in my heart!  :-D  I suppose I would ditch one of the two Ginny Aiken books, mainly because I haven’t actually read them yet – picked them up at booksales somewhere along the line – so I don’t have an emotional attachment to them (yet).

4 – Which book from this shelf would you save in an emergency and why?

Probably Rose in Bloom, which teaches me something new every time I read it.  That particular copy, as you can see from its rather battered condition, has been with me many a year.

5 – Which book has been on this shelf for the longest time?

I’m going to interpret that as “Which book have I owned the longest?” since they’ve all been there since I moved here.  I’ve had most of these books a long time, but the red copy of Little Women (illustrated by Jesse Wilcox Smith – gorgeous) – I received from my mom for my 13th birthday, so it’s been with me for over 20 years!

6 – Which book is the newest addition to this shelf?

It’s actually the skinny blue book to the left of Jane Fairfax.  The blue book is a sequel to The Cat-Sitter Mystery (which I’ve owned forever, maybe even longer than Little Women), The Copy-Cat Mystery, which I just recently purchased when I was rereading The Cat-Sitter Mystery – I didn’t even know there was a sequel until this year!

7 – Which book on this shelf are you most excited to read (or reread if this is a favorite shelf)?

Wow, this shelf actually has a lot of favorites, as I really love Louisa May Alcott’s works, and the Bayern books are fantastic – Dominion was also a gripping read, of course Wolves of Willoughby Chase is always perfect, and the last book on the shelf is actually the third book in Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain, which I also dearly love!  But if I really, really had to choose, probably Little Women as it has actually been quite a while since I’ve read it, and it’s a book that means a great deal to me.

8 – If there is an object on this shelf apart from books, tell us the story behind it.

These actually do tend to be knickknacky shelves as well, so there are indeed non-book objects…  the jar contains rose petals from various momentous events in my life; the stuffed bunny was a childhood favorite; the white dish has a cow on it because I collect cows; I also collect giraffes; the glass jars seem to have just appeared from nowhere as I honestly have no recollection as to where they came from or why I have them (apparently I just like dusting things); the framed motto was a gift from my mom; and the moose (which is incredibly soft!) was purchased on our trip to Colorado in 2015, when Tom and I saw our first wild moose!

9 – What does this shelf tell us about you as a reader?

Umm…  well, probably that I like things to be somewhat orderly, I have a love for Louisa May Alcott, and I don’t mind owning more than one copy of the same book.  :-D

10 – Choose other bloggers to tag or choose a free question you make up yourself.

Hopefully many of you will choose to participate in this fun book tag – and make sure you tag Bibliobeth (and me!) when you do!

For a free question – Which of these books do you think everyone should read?

I think I am going to go with An Old-Fashioned Girl for this one.  Polly’s adventures have gotten me through a lot of my life, and especially gave me encouragement and challenged me when I was single.  I love how she is independent and industrious, but still so kind and womanly.  And of course Polly ends up with a Tom as well.  :-D

Rearview Mirror // October 2017

This has definitely been my worst month blogging in quite a while.  I did a LOT of reading, but basically no reviewing except for a couple of minireview posts at the end of the month.  And even those didn’t come close to catching up on my reviews AND never actually covered the books I read this month that I loved!

Things have been quite crazy at the orchard, and also really busy in my Etsy shop, so those things have been taking a lot of my time.  Tom and I also went to Virginia for a long weekend over my birthday – our first ‘real’ trip in the Zeppelin, and it was a resounding success!

Favorite October Read:

Well, my favorite October reads haven’t been reviewed yet: The Night Circus, Only Dead on the Inside, and Dawn Study.  But out of the small, pathetic handful of books I actually managed to review, I would actually go with A is for Arsenic.  I was surprised at how thoroughly interesting I found this book that details the various poisons Agatha Christie used in her novels.  It was science-y and informative, but really readable and engaging as well.

Most Disappointing October Read:

I had a lot of really meh reads this month as well.  Out of the ones reviewed, I think I have to go with Thirty Days to Thirtywhich could have been a super fun little chick lit read, except it just got stupid.

Other October Reads:

  • Dot Journaling by Rachel Wilkerson Miller – 4/5 – the first book on the subject that actually felt legitimately practical for someone like me, who isn’t remotely artsy.
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – 3.5/5 – there were a lot of things I liked about this book, and it was definitely worth the read, but it wasn’t one I would consider a classic.
  • Indian Paint by Glenn Balch – 3.5/5 – a fun Famous Horse Story about a young American Indian boy and the horse he loves!
  • Lion of Liberty by Harlow Giles Unger – 3/5 – a decent biography of Patrick Henry, but really more of a review of the American Revolution and constitution.
  • Storm Glass, Sea Glass, and Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder – 3.5/5 for the trilogy – interesting books and nice to have some other stories set in Ixia/Sitia, but I just didn’t really like Opal all that well, and the love triangles got ridiculously out of hand.
  • The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye – 3/5 – a children’s book that would have been a lot better if it had actually been about a turtle.

In Octobers Past…

Now that I’ve been doing my Rearview Mirrors for two years, I thought it would be fun to see what my favorite and least-favorite reads were from those years.

//published 2013//

In 2015, I read and loved The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness.  While a lot of times it really annoys me if I can’t figure out what a book is ‘about’, Ness managed to write a book that I felt like would be somehow different every time I read it.  It was a strangely magical book.

I was disappointed by Houses of Stone by Barbara Michaels.  I was hoping to get a book that was funny and engaging with a decent mystery, like I did in the Amelia Peabody books, but instead I just got a story about a whiny feminist.

Last year, I thoroughly enjoyed Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – it’s now my favorite book by her.  On the other hand, I was left confused by Magic Below the Stairs by Caroline Stevermer, which added nothing to otherwise beloved Cecelia and Kate books.

TBR Update…

Oh dear.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m weirdly obsessive with organizing the TBR, and have it on a spreadsheet divided into five different tabs:

  • Standalones:  821 (up ONLY eight!)
  • Nonfiction:  81 (DOWN one!!!)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  616 (up only three!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  228 (up one)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 106 (up one)

Awaiting Review:

Quite the pile, actually.

  • Only Dead on the Inside by James Breakwell – quite entertaining even if you don’t have children or believe the zombie apocalypse is imminent.
  • Shadow Study, Night Study, and Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder – so good!  Dawn Study was even more satisfactory than I anticipated.
  • Miss Billy and Miss Billy’s Decision by Eleanor H. Porter – by the author of Pollyanna; Billy isn’t quite as engaging of a heroine, but pleasant books nonetheless.
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – what.  This book was so magical.  All the feelings.  Oh my gosh.
  • Still Life by Dani Pettrey – reread of book #2 to gear me up for reading book #3 which I received as an ARC.

Current Reads:

As a side note, I have been trying to do better at keeping up on Goodreads, so feel free to follow me there.

  • Miss Billy Married by Eleanor H. Porter – the final book in the Miss Billy trilogy, and my favorite so far.
  • Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey – alright so far.
  • Jackaby by William Ritter – reading yet again, this time so I can get the full build-up to launch in the fourth and final book, that will hopefully bring this series to a very satisfying conclusion.
  • The Pastor Takes a Wife by Anna Schmidt – time to read another lil batch of those crazy Love Inspired books so I can eventually get the pile of 5000 of them out of my house!

 Approaching the Top of the Pile:

The probable next five reads…

  • Four more Love Inspired books, determined by a random sticking-my-hand-in-the-basket.
  • The rest of the Jackaby books.
  • Heavier Than Heaven by Charles R. Cross – part of my goal to read my own books; Tom has had this biography of Kurt Cobain laying around forever.
  • The River Line by Charles Line – not sure what this one is even about.
  • Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars by Daniel Pinkwater – this one keeps getting pushed down the list by other reads, but I am going to get to it this time!

Happy November!!!