The Fifty Bookish Questions Book Tag

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I love doing posts like this. I found this from Arctic Books, and I thought this would be a fun way for y’all to understand my reading habit and why I pick certain books. Let’s get started!

1. What was the last book you read?

The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One. I really enjoyed that collection. You can see my post about it here.

2. Was it a good one?

I thought so.

3. What made it good?

I loved how it made me think about current social issues.

4. Would you recommend it to other people?

I definitely would.

5. How often do you read?

Not as often as I’d like. Having a two-year-old prevents that sometimes.

6. Do you like to read?

LOVE.

7.What was the last bad book you read?

I don’t know if it was bad per se, but I wasn’t the hugest fan of Breaking the Glass Slipper.

8. What made you dislike it?

Just wasn’t my jam.

9. Do you wish to be a writer?

Eh? I have a book idea in mind, but I don’t really know if I’m going to go through with it. For now, I’m really happy with blogging.

10. Has any book ever influenced you greatly?

Some books that have really touched me are The Princess Saves Herself in This One, The Alchemist, and Carry On Warrior.

11. Do you read fan fiction?

Nope.

12. Do you write fan fiction?

Nope.

13. What’s your favorite book?

Trying to pick a favorite is like trying to pick your favorite child. It’s impossible.

14. What’s your least favorite book?

Moby Dick. I hate Melville.

15. Do you prefer physical books or ready on a device (like a kindle)?

I love both for different reasons. Physical books are just so satisfying. My Kindle allows me to read with a kid on my lap.

16. When did you learn to read?

I think a little before kindergarten.

17. What is your favorite book you had to read in school?

There were so many! But if I have to choose one, I think it would be The Bell Jar.

18. What is your favorite book series?

Harry Potter for sure.

19. Who is your favorite author?

Fiction: don’t really think I can pick one.

Non fiction: Brittany Gibbons

20. What is your favorite genre?

Either fantasy or historical fiction.

21. Who is your favorite character in a book series?

Hermione and Matilda. I really connected and identified with both of them.

22. Has a book ever transported you somewhere else?

Don’t they all?

23.Which book do you wish had a sequel?

Everything, Everything. It was so sweet!

24. Which book do you wish DIDN’T have a sequel?

Twilight or Fifty Shades of Gray. I was never a fan of either series.

25. How long does it take you to read a book?

If I can be left alone and read, a couple days. If I have a crazy kid and husband to deal with, it could take FOREVER.

26. Do you like when books become movies?

Sometimes. Some adaptations are amazing, while others are just ok.

27. Which book was ruined by its movie adaptation?

I think Ender’s Game. I wasn’t a fan.

28. Which movie has done a book justice?

I feel the Lord of the Rings series were pretty spot on.

29. Do you read newspapers?

No, but I should.

30. Do you read magazines?

From time to time.

31. Do you prefer newspapers or magazines?

Probably magazines.

32. Do you read while in bed?

It’s one of my preferred spots.

33. Do you read while on the toilet?

You gotta do what you gotta do.

34. Do you read while in the car?

If it’s a long car ride, yes. Books helped me survive the 13-hour trips to Michigan.

35. Do you read while in the bath?

Haven’t tried it.

36. Are you a fast reader?

When a book has really captured my interest, yes.

37. Are you a slow reader?

When I have lots of distractions, yes.

38. Where is your favorite place to read?

Probably on my couch under a blanket.

39. Is it hard for you to concentrate while you read?

Sometimes.

40. Do you need a room to be silent while you read?

I would prefer it to be quiet.

41. Who gave you your love for reading?

Probably my dad.

42. What book is next on your list to read?

I’m currently reading Quackery, but after that I don’t really know.

43. When did you start to read chapter books?

Kindergarten.

44. Who is your favorite children’s book author?

Roald Dahl.

45. Which author would you most want to interview?

JK Rowling for sure.

46. Which author do you think you’d be friends with?

Brittany Gibbons. She’s a badass and super funny.

47. What book have you reread the most?

Either the Harry Potter series or The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

48. Which books do you consider “classics”?

Books that have stood the test of time and are still relevant today.

49. Which books do you think should be taught in every school?

ALL THE BOOKS.

50. Which books should be banned from all schools?

NONE OF THE BOOKS.

Do you agree/disagree with my answers? Fill this out for yourself!

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Amanda Lovelace Poetry

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Something that I always tell myself I need to read more of is poetry. I love that poetry collections are usually a quick read, but they make you think and feel so many things in not so many words. That takes a great deal of talent, and Amanda Lovelace does a wonderful job of doing just that.

These books have been floating around in my head for a little while, and I don’t know why I didn’t read them sooner. Maybe because I wasn’t meant to have them yet…maybe I needed to be at this point in my life to fully appreciate them.

Both collections are broken into four sections, and each progresses in a logical manner. They both have a clear journey and allow the reader to kind of make their own ending.

The Princess Saves Herself In This One made me feel so many things. Part of me wishes I had this collection when I was in high school and was dealing with far more body image issues. I loved how this book was so empowering. It legitimately made me cry. I also love that Lovelace used the fairy tale archetype to tell her story.

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While Princess made me feel, The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One made me think. This collection is much more “I am woman, hear me roar” than Princess. Lovelace wants women to take control of their own lives and to stand up for themselves, and I feel this collection really captures that feeling.

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I can’t wait to read her new collection, The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in this One. Spring 2019 is so far away!

What poetry should I read next?

Grad School Decisions

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Something that I’ve wanted to do for a while now is get my Masters’ degree. Although getting a pay bump is a huge plus, the main reason I want to get it is because it’s something that I want to do for me. I had always thought that I’d get it in English, then later pursue a Doctorate degree, but since I’m not in education anymore, I don’t really know how much that would benefit me. Now I think I’ve really decided on what I want to do.

I want to get my MLIS (Masters of Library and Information Science).

I think this is going to be a really fun program, with lots of benefits:

I get to be around books all the time.

Sounds like every bookworm’s dream, right? I can look at books all day long! I can check out all the books I want and fulfill my book cravings.

I can help people.

I love that I can help people find their new favorite book. I can also help them with getting their passport, completing a research project, and pretty much everything else they would need.

I can have more time with my son.

This is the big one for me. I’d like to get the dual certification as a media specialist so I can work in a school setting. I would basically have the same schedule as my son, so I can spoil him rotten and spend as much time as possible with him.

I think the one thing that is really holding me back right now is money. If I just get the MLIS without the media specialist certification, I would save myself about $4000. But at the same time…I don’t know if I’d make it back to school again in order to get my certificate. Plus, I’m trying to go back to school with no additional student loans. I’m still paying off my Bachelors’ degree, and I graduated in 2012! I’ve started a little nest egg for school, so slowly I’ll be able to afford it.

Any suggestions on what path I should take and how to afford it? Leave me some comments!

The Celestine Prophecy

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A book that has been passed from hand to hand, from friend to friend, since it first appeared in small bookshops across America, THE CELESTINE PROPHECY is a work that has come to light at a time when the world deeply needs to read its words. The story it tells is a gripping one of adventure and discovery, but it is also a guidebook that has the power to crystallize your perceptions of why you are where you are in life…and to direct your steps with a new energy and optimism as you head into tomorrow.

This book certainly seems to promise a lot, doesn’t it?

I didn’t really know what to expect when I picked it up at Books by the Pound (more on this wonderful store in a later post). I thought it would just be a fun, short adventure book. However, I wasn’t expecting to think some deep thoughts, you know what I mean?

The deep thoughts are spiritual-esque in nature; author James Redfield focuses a lot on the concept of synchronicity, meaning that coincidences are more important and insightful that one would originally think. I feel like I agree with that idea somewhat. I’ve had some experiences in my life that lined up a little too perfectly, and I thought that something or someone was working in the background. I started reading The Celestine Prophecy with an open mind because of my previous experiences, and because I’m starting to explore my spirituality a bit more.

The story starts with the male main character (which is nameless, probably to have more of an everyman feel) at a metaphorical crossroads in his life, when “coincidentally” he meets up with an old friend who tells him about a mysterious manuscript in Peru that will totally change his life. Naturally, he hops on a plane the next day and flies to Peru, where he meets with people from different walks of life who are all after the same manuscript.

But what’s in the manuscript?

In this book, there are nine Insights that the characters realize throughout the plot. These Insights, in my super-basic understanding, illustrate the point that everything and everyone is connected to one another, and our interactions are a kind of energy struggle. I don’t necessarily hate this concept, but it’s definitely something new to wrap my brain around. I do feel that we’re all connected, but I don’t know if I necessarily buy the energy struggle idea. There are three more books in the series, and I plan on reading the rest. If anything, I’ll learn more about this interesting topic.

A Hard Drinking Era: Guest Post by Eleanor Kuhns

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Spirits or distilled liquor were consumed so enthusiastically during the 1790’s (and before and after) that tourists and important men alike began to decry the habit. The U.S. was a nation of drunkards. George Washington, a whiskey distiller himself, referred to the heavy drinking as the ruin of half the workmen. And John Adams complained about the length of time it took to get something built. One day’s work earned a man enough to stay drunk all week so they worked one day out of seven. Women, of course, were never supposed to be seen intoxicated.

How did we get into such a pickle? Well, part of it was cultural. Cotton Mater (of Puritan fame) declared,  “Drink itself to be a creature of God.”

Water tended to be dirty. It was frequently contaminated and just plain unappetizing. In Natchez water from the Mississippi River had to be set aside so the sediment could settle. (ugh!) Milk was unpasteurized and if the cow ate something like jimson weed the milk would be poisonous. Alcoholic beverages made with boiled water were safe. This was not only true in the United States. Throughout the Middle Ages and continuing onto the eighteenth century, just about everyone drank beer. Even children. They drank ‘small’ beer with an alcoholic content of 4% or so. (Without modern controls, the alcohol content fluctuated wildly. I saw beer being made as would have been done in the 1700s in Colonial Williamsburg. They are not permitted to sell it because the results vary so much. The alcohol content ranged from the 3 or 4% range all the way up to 8 or 9% or more.)

In times where the food supply could be erratic at best, beer – and other alcoholic beverages – supplied a significant portion of the day’s calories. Unfiltered beer especially has a higher nutritional content than leavened bread, more protein and B vitamins and fewer phytates (chemicals that bind to minerals such as calcium and prevent them from being absorbed in the intestines).

Also the cereal grains from which beer and whiskey could be transported from the western frontier (like Pittsburg in 1793) to the east in the form of whiskey and sold for more than four times the price for the grain itself and without adding to the cost of transportation.

Everyone drank. Ben Franklin is quoted as saying if God wanted men to drink water He would not have given him an elbow to bend a glass with. Toddlers were put to sleep with alcohol or the sugary residue at the bottom of the glass. (This makes my hair stand on end.) In the early days of the 1700s, the favorite drink was rum, sweet and alcoholic. Rum was made from molasses. Part of the triangle trade (slaves, molasses and rum) it was distilled at first in Maine and Massachusetts. Later the distillation was moved to the West Indies to be closer to the sugar cane. After the Revolution, however, it was not patriotic to drink rum. Whiskey, especially rye whiskey, was all-American. The grain was grown in the United States and it was distilled into whiskey here as well.

Early opposition to drink came from the Quakers. By 1777 they were ordered neither to distill nor to sell distilled beverages. The Shakers (i.e. the Shaking Quakers) practiced restraint and drank mainly water.  They were, however, famous for their cider and it went from ‘kind’ to ‘hard’ very quickly in an age before refrigeration. The Methodists saw drinking as a barrier to purifying the church and society so they joined the crusade. A number of doctors also spoke out against the perils of heaving drinking. Dr. Benjamin Rush, a doctor famous for his work during the Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793 was a leader.

So what about Will Rees, my detective? He doesn’t drink whiskey or rum. His favorite drink is coffee. (After the Boston Tea Party, tea was considered unpatriotic.) Lucky for Rees, coffeehouses, popular in England especially after 1660, crossed the Atlantic to the Colonies. Like the taverns, they were very important to the War for Independence. The rebels met in both coffeehouses and taverns to air grievances and to plan strategy. Coffee became a popular drink and was widely available. To this day the United States is the leading consumer of coffee.

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EKuhns credit to Rana FaureEleanor Kuhns is the 2011 winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel. A lifelong librarian, she received her Masters from Columbia University and is currently the Assistant Director of the Goshen Public Library in Orange County New York.

 

 

Website URL: http://www.eleanor-kuhns.com

Blog URL: http://www.eleanor-kuhns.com/blog

Facebook URL: http://www.facebook.com/Eleanor-Kuhns

Twitter: #EleanorKuhns

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/eleanor-kuhns-36759623

Dam Witherston: Guest Post by Betty Jean Craige

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Dam Witherston is the third of my Witherston Murder Mysteries. The others are Fairfield’s Auction and Downstream. They are all set in a fictive town in the north Georgia mountains where everybody knows everybody else and few people are bad. However, even in this idyllic community of four thousand souls somebody is murdered every year or so, and Mev the police detective, Aunt Lottie the online columnist, and Mev and Paco’s teenage twin sons Jaime and Jorge and their friends collaborate to identify the murderer.

After Black Opal Books accepted Downstream for publication and took on the series I learned that I was writing “cozies.” A “cozy mystery” is a category of crime fiction in which the characters, often eccentric or comic, are well developed, their actions involve little violence or explicit sex, and the events take place in a closed environment. The author tacitly agrees to play fair with the reader by giving appropriate clues to the crime’s solution—not so many as to lead the reader to guess what happened early on, but enough to enable the reader to figure it out by the end of the novel if he or she thinks hard. And the reader must have fun participating in the detection.

In my mysteries I provide information about the events not just through the narration but also through an online newspaper called Witherston on the Web, locally known as “Webby Witherston,” to which Lottie, the boys, the police, and other folks in town contribute. Webby Witherston includes Breaking News, Announcements, Editorials, Lottie’s “North Georgia in History,” Cartoons, Letters to the Editor, Police Blotter, and the Weather.

Why do I enjoy writing cozies? Because I like creating a puzzle for readers to enjoy solving. It’s a game we play together. I only wish I could hear my readers laugh, or at least say, “Aha!”

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BJ Craige and CosmoDr. Betty Jean Craige is University Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature at the University of Georgia. She has lived in Athens, Georgia, since 1973. Betty Jean is a teacher, scholar, translator, humorist, and writer. Her first non-academic book was Conversations with Cosmo: At Home with an African Grey Parrot (2010). After retiring in 2011, she published a column about animal behavior in the local paper titled “Cosmo Talks” and began writing fiction. Her Witherston Murder Mystery series includes Downstream (2014), Fairfield’s Auction (2016), and Dam Witherston (2017).

Buy links:

Dam Witherston  https://www.amazon.com/Dam-Witherston-Murder-Mystery/dp/1626945985/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1487542092&sr=8-1&keywords=dam+witherston

Downstream http://www.amazon.com/Downstream-Witherston-Murder-Mystery-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00OSXPV4A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458158780&sr=8-1&keywords=downstream+craige

Fairfield’s Auction http://www.amazon.com/Fairfields-Auction-Witherston-Murder-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01AXN3546/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458158803&sr=8-1&keywords=fairfield%27s+auction+craige

Bookish Podcasts


As you might know from previous posts, I love listening to podcasts. Usually I listen to true crime podcasts, but sometimes I branch out into different genres…mainly book-related podcasts. Here are the main bookish podcasts I listen to, as well as a few that I might need to start listening to in the future.

wsirnWhat Should I Read Next is the show for every reader who has ever finished a book and faced the problem of not knowing what to read next. Each week, host Anne Bogel interviews a new person and finds out their tastes. Then, she makes recommendations about what to read next.

I’ve been reading Anne’s blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy, for a while now. Truth be told, I think that MMD is what this blog wants to be when it grows up. When I saw that she was launching a podcast, I knew I had to subscribe. I have found so many books to read thanks to this podcast. I have a whole spread of TBR books in my bullet journal (post about that later), and I’m so excited to check them all off soon. The first one I’m trying is Still Life by Louise Penny, and I’m glad I finally picked it up. Thanks Anne!

 

overdueOverdue is a podcast about the books you’ve been meaning to read. Join Andrew and Craig each week as they tackle a new title from their backlog. Classic literature, obscure plays, goofy murder mysteries: they’ll read it all, one overdue book at a time.

I love the tone of this show. It’s just two guys talking about books they’ve read. It makes you feel like you’re sitting in there with them. I jump around with the episodes. I only listen to the ones that feature books I’ve read. There are plenty of books that they cover that I want to read, but I don’t want to spoil them for myself. My all-time favorite episodes are the 50 Shades episodes (numbers 50, 100, and 150). They’re absolutely hysterical.

 

hpatstWhat if we read the books we love as if they were sacred texts? What would we learn? How might they change us? Harry Potter and the Sacred Text is a podcast reading Harry Potter, the best-selling series of all time, as if it was a sacred text. Just as Christians read the Bible, Jews the Torah and Muslims read the Quran, we will embark on a 199-episode journey (one chapter an episode, to be released weekly) to glean what wisdom and meaning J.K. Rowling’s beloved novels have for us today. We will read Harry Potter, not just as novels, but as instructive and inspirational texts that will teach us about our own lives.

I love the idea of this series. I know that the Harry Potter series is important to many people on a personal level, and I like the experiment of reading the series for something more. Vanessa and Casper provide such great points and personal stories throughout their analyses. Not really a spoiler, but at the end of most episodes they try to do a reading activity. Usually it’s picking out a random quote from the chapter and viewing it through the podcast topic’s lens. I’ve tried that on my own, and I think it helps me get more involved with my reading. I want to do it more often!

 

pcJoin PotterCast in a continuing adventure through J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. For eleven years PotterCast has remained your trusted source for discussion, celebration, and interviews with creators and actors from the Harry Potter Universe.

If I can get the backlogs of all the episodes, I’ll think I have died and gone to heaven. Eleven years of Harry Potter podcasts?! Oh man, sign me up! I’m really excited to hear from the actors and see what their experiences were like on set.

 

rgDo you love books? Want to learn how to make the most of your reading life? Join hosts Brea Grant and Mallory O’Meara every week as they discuss tips and tricks for reading better on Reading Glasses! Reading Glasses is a podcast designed to help you get more out of your literary experiences. As professional creatives and mega-readers, Mallory and Brea are experts on integrating a love of reading into a busy lifestyle. Reading Glasses listeners will learn how to vanquish their To-Be-Read piles, get pointers on organizing their bookshelves and hear reviews on the newest reading gadgets. Brea and Mallory also offer savvy advice on uniquely bookish problems. How do you climb out of a reading slump? How do you support authors while still getting books on the cheap? Where do you hide the bodies of the people who won’t stop talking while you’re trying to read? Mallory and Brea engage in a spirited weekly half hour discussion geared towards all kinds of book lovers — nerds, avid bookworms, comic fans and science fiction geeks, literary fiction readers, book hoarders, library users, people who prefer the company of words on a page to a crowded party and casual readers who want to read more.

Based on this description, it sounds like something I would create! I know this is a relatively new podcast (I think there’s only 2 or 3 episodes out), but I’m definitely going to check this one out!

 

tholEnthusiast Jacke Wilson journeys through the history of literature, from ancient epics to contemporary classics. Find out more at historyofliterature.com and facebook.com/historyofliterature.

I love fun history. When I was in college, the introductory lessons at the beginning of literature units were my favorite, because I loved learning the history of the time period and the writing. Now there’s a whole podcast about it! This is right up my alley.

Do you have any bookish podcast recommendations for me?