Archive of ‘My Reading Life’ category

Third Time Is A Charm!

A few nights ago, I was ready to give up on the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I had six posts left to write in three days, and I didn’t think I had it in me to finish. I proclaimed my defeat to my son, who looked at me and said, “I’m not going to let you do that, mom. You have to finish what you started.”

And he was right. Smart kid. Must take after me. πŸ™‚

I’m happy to say that I have finished this blog challenge for the third time. While writing can be a lonely activity sometimes, I know I have many people cheering me on. So, without further ado, there are a few people I want to thank.

Thank you to my family, who reads and comments on my posts and supports my writing. You give me permission to write about everything (to a certain extent), and I appreciate you trusting me with your stories. And thanks for doing the dishes so I can spend more time writing!

Thank you to my friends at Philadelphia Writers Workshop and the Ultimate Blog Challenge community who inspire and encourage me to “blog on.” It is a pleasure and a privilege to be among kind and talented people like yourselves. Special thanks to my writing buddy and accountability partner, Heather. Someday, we will both be published authors; I can feel it!

And thanks to everyone who subscribed to my blog, read them regularly, and/or tweeted them out to their networks. And if you were only able to read one or two posts, I hope you liked them and will come back for more.

This month I tried something new and focused on one topic – my love for books. It turned out I had plenty to say on the subject. While I will return to writing about various topics, books will have more of a presence on my blog to inspire others to read and support their local bookstores.

I have also acquired a regular writing habit and will keep going with more posts all summer long. There is much to write about, and I hope you will be here for it.

In the immortal words of Sylvia Plath,

“Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”


The May Book Report

May was an exciting month in my reading life. I’m happy to say that I have not purchased a new book in over a month – and for me, this is HUGE! Before finding The Unread Shelf Challenge, I bought 2-3 books a week. After the first month of this challenge, I’ve shifted my focus and rediscovered the books I already own. I’m being much more honest with myself about what I’m interested in reading and getting rid of titles that no longer apply. I doubt I will go back to buying so many at a time.

Thankfully, our local library opened its new location, and I can already tell I will quickly become a regular there. I did borrow one book from there this month – Ending Parkinson’s Disease: A Prescription for Action. I’ve been reading about this topic for a book I’m interested in writing. Also, thanks to all the summer reading lists that have recently been published, I have put several books on hold. I’m hoping they come in soon so that I have plenty to report on in my June book report post.

But I’m getting ahead of myself now. Here is what I read in May.

Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott is a brilliant writer that I learned about fairly recently. I heard her speak at a virtual book tour event for her latest title and loved her wisdom, humor, and candor. I am on page 165 of this book. It is taking me a while to read it because I want to savor each chapter. Through this book, she teaches a class on writing, and I (along with many fellow writers) am her eager student. I am soaking in her advice and learning a lot from her. I don’t want this book to end, but I’ll finish it eventually.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins-Reid

From the best-selling author of Daisy Jones and the Six (which is still sitting on my nightstand to read), this was the novel our book club chose to read this month. Evelyn is a Hollywood starlet who has said and done a lot to get to her level of stardom. Now, she is telling her story to a little-known writer, and what she reveals will change both of their lives. Evelyn married seven times, and with each husband, we learn more about her, her relationships, and her road to fame and fortune. It’s a bumpy (and fun) ride! This author has a new book coming out in a few days called Malibu Rising. I already put a hold on it at the library.

Books I DNF’d

I also listened to The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory on Audible. This is a title I heard so much about and was looking forward to reading. Unfortunately, I didn’t care for it, and you can read why here.

In addition, I am donating the following books that no longer suit my reading life. These books were gifted to me. I hear they are excellent reads, but there are so many books and so little time. I’d rather share these titles with those who will appreciate them.

A Splendid Ruin by Megan Chance
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Up Next

In June, I am going for an ambitious list of four titles to kick off my summer reading. I will read the Parkinson’s book, and I just started Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton. I am only three chapters in and already having trouble putting it down. As a bonus, one of the main characters is named Elisa. πŸ™‚ Our book club picked The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth (who wrote one of my favorites, The Mother-In-Law). But, I am most looking forward to reading Andrew McCarthy’s memoir, Brat, An ’80s Story. Many people are waiting to read this book at the library, so this may be one that I break my book-buying fast to purchase. I hear it will be worth it.

A Quick Note

If you decide to buy any of these books, I hope you will support your local, independent bookstore. Yes, Amazon is faster and probably cheaper, but buying local helps families. Please keep them in business because I shudder to think of a world without bookstores.

Happy reading!






A Brown Bear and a Hungry Caterpillar

Yes, I’m talking about books again because I can’t let the passing of an exceptional children’s author and artist go by without paying my respects. As a child, I learned to count thanks to The Very Hungry Caterpillar. And if you ask my kids what children’s book they loved growing up – it wouldn’t be anything by Dr. Seuss – it’s Eric Carle’s Brown Bear book.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?
I see a red bird looking at me.

Red bird, Red bird, What do you see?
I see a yellow duck looking at me…

After the first 100 times reading this book to my kids at bedtime, two things happened – 1) I was pretty sick of it and 2) I memorized it word for word. This parenting trick came in handy when the kids got antsy in the back seat during long car rides. I’d recite these first few lines of Brown Bear, and they would calm down and join in. Sometimes, I would mess up the order on purpose, but the kids picked up on it every time.

(As a side note, I could also recite a mean Green Eggs and Ham).

So, what was so captivating? Was it the blue horse, the green frog, the purple cat, the white dog, the black sheep, or the goldfish? How about the beautiful illustrations and the rhythmic phrasing? Or was it just a cute brown bear with 20/20 vision?

I’d say – it was all of the above.

Thanks, Eric Carle, for teaching me to count and my kids how to read and for helping me make memories with my family that I won’t soon forget.

And by the way, I’m keeping this copy of Brown Bear, Brown BearΒ to read to my grandkids someday.

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