happy new year + a reading reflection

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Decided to start this new year by posting my answers to Reading Questions for 2021 from my friend, Donna of I am Your Rabbit. If you don’t already, you should check out her weekly book and entertainment updates. She’s my go-to for deciding what the Hubby and I will watch on a Saturday night.

What were 3 books you loved reading in 2021 (published any year?)

I love how Donna emphasized 3 books knowing full well how challenging that would be for us. It made me laugh out loud.  Just three?!?!

  1. A PSALM FOR THE WILD-BUILT by Becky Chambers. I’ve recommend this book to everyone I know who loves to read and those that hint that they might like to read something. I even selected it for the Rocket City Mom Virtual Book Club; we discussed it last night. This short novella may have saved me in 2021. It’s such a lovely book, like a hot cup of tea on a cold night. When I reached the end, I cried literal tears of joy of being seen in such a real way. Becky Chambers dedicates the book “for anyone that could use a break” and that’s just about everyone right now, isn’t it?
  2. CLOUD CUCKOO LAND by Anthony Doerr. This stands out to me because it is the longest book I have read in a long time, over 600 pages. But the story was epic and spanned hundreds of years, following one book from the 1400s in Constantinople to the future on a space ship. I got swept away in the story and, in 2021, being swept away was a challenge.  It was the right amount of everything I love in a book.
  3. WRITERS & LOVERS by Lily King. I started this book in 2020 and couldn’t get into it.  I thought it would be a sad book. The main character’s mother had passed and she is grieving, in a dead-end job, and struggling to write a book. But this book ends so well, I get goosebumps thinking about reading that ending again.  I loved it!

What book had been on your TBR (to be read list) for years and you’re happy you finally read it in 2021?

I read over 100 books this year; something which I have always wanted to do but, as of this moment, don’t ever want to do again! In perusing my list, I am realizing how little of my books were something that I have wanted to read a long time.  Most of them were new-to-me books.  But I did get a chance to reread THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD by Zora Neale Hurston.  I adored this book when I studied it in college and was delighted to discover, that 20 years later, I still adore it.

What author did you read for the first time in 2021 that you’ll now consider an ‘automatic read’ the next time they publish a book?

Becky Chambers, author of the aforementioned PSALM. I also read her entire Wayfarer Series this year, as a #buddyread with Donna, no less.  I have one more novella of hers left to be a Becky Chambers completist but don’t want to read it yet, because I always want a new book of hers available to me. Does anyone else do that?

What are a couple of 2022 new releases you’re excited about?

Becky Chambers will release a follow-up novella to PSALM this year and I can NOT wait to read it! It may be preordered already! Also, Julia Whelan is finally releasing another book! Her MY OXFORD YEAR is one of my fav of all time.

What are your goals and/or projects for your reading life next year?

My fellow team members at Modern Mrs. Darcy are incredulous and perhaps a bit amused at my reading goal/project this year. I am planning on reading only 42 NEW books! These 42 books have to meet one major specific criteria – when I heard about them, I must have said, “heck yeah! I want to read that!” There are two important caveats to this project. One, I can read as many rereads as I want. And two, 10% of my new books must come from my shelf of books I already own but have not yet read. I will know by July whether I am going to fail spectacularly at this project or not!

Note: If you’re a listener and supporter the podcast, What Should I Read Next?, you can hear more about this project on this week’s bonus episode.

enjoy life…

acknowledgments {this bookman: meditations & miscellany}

Some books start with acknowledgements but most save them to the end.  I haven’t always liked to read them but ever since I began to wonder how the cake was baked, I have taken in all of the acknowledgements from my favorite books. As Anne said, “The authors acknowledgements have deepened my appreciation for and understanding of the story.” I end This Bookman: Meditations & Miscellany series with my own acknowledgements; what further insights this gives, only you will be able to say.

I would be remiss if I didn’t first thank Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy for inspiring this series of meditations on my reading life.  I have referred to it often, but I’d Rather Be Reading, was a life-changing experience.  It is a gorgeous volume and would make a lovely little gift for the readers in your life.

Next, Domonique, who was the first person with whom I shared this hair-brain idea and was so excited and affirming that I had no excuses for not pursuing it.

My mommy, who always said that I should publish something.  Did you know something all along?

And none of this would be possible without my Hubby, who has granted me the time and space to pursue this writing thing.

And finally, from the bottom of my heart I thank you, the readers, who have come with me on this journey.  As edifying as this experience might have been for me, writers need readers and without you, the writing life just doesn’t quite measure up.  Much love to each and every one of you. I hope you’ll stick around. I’ll be easing up on the frequency of my posts through the Holidays and will be back with you, nice and regular in the New Year!

Now go read something else, and more importantly,

enjoy life

the bookman’s scholarship

Have you ever caught yourself thinking what you would do if you had a lot of money, like you won the lottery or an old rich family member died (of natural causes, to be clear)? I have and one of the things that I have always thought that I’d like to do is set up a scholarship at my alma mater. In 2016, I was impressed to start the  scholarship with what little money I had and slowly build it and add to it as time progressed.  There was no reason to wait.

In 2015, I had read a book called “The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession” by Charlie Lovett.  Before I read that book, I had never heard of the word, “bookman”. Of course, I had to look up the word and was delighted to find that it described me perfectly.

Naturally, that became the name of the scholarship: The Bookman’s Scholarship.  It is for students who love books and reading and are enrolled in a literature courses.  The application requires a 250-word essay where they can discuss their favorite quote or their favorite book.

I’m happy to say that we have awarded two small scholarships to-date and plan on growing the fund to endowment status with the ultimate goal of paying for four years of college for one student. Although that appears to a long way off, so was the idea of even having a scholarship to begin with.

If you have an idea, a dream, or something you think it would be cool to do, don’t wait! Figure out how you can make it happen now.  Two students were able to get into school because I went for it.  That’s amazing to me.

charlie-lovett-and-me.jpgI had the pleasure of meeting Charlie Lovett at The Alabama Booksmith in Birmingham, Alabama in March of 2017. I bet he didn’t think that his book title would inspire a scholarship to help students through school.

til tomorrow, enjoy life

Only one more day to go in this series: This Bookman: Meditations & Miscellany.