It’s been another great month of reading. The books I’ve read this month, have mostly been actual books. I had a birthday in January and much to my pleasure, received books as gifts. I’ve only read two audiobooks in recent weeks, as I’ve been keen to catch up on a few podcasts. Also one of the audio books was over 30 hours of listening time. I’ve read less books that usual this month, as I’ve had to devote time to drafting posts for the April A-Z Challenge. This was a longer process than it needed to be because I kept changing my mind about my theme. I’m participating on my family history blog Tracking Down The Family. March is a busy genealogy month for me, so I’ve been trying to get the posts finished by the end of February. I’m very tempted to also participate with this blog, but trying to resist that temptation. I did enter both blogs a few years ago, and it was a much bigger challenge than I expected. I do, however, enjoy a challenge.
52 Week Book Challenge
The 52 Book Club Challenge is an annual challenge to read 52 books in 52 weeks. The challenge is composed of prompts which are used to choose the book each week. An added extra that I’ve added to the challenge is to choose books that have been sitting unread on my bookshelf. From the five books I’ve chosen for the challenge this month, four books have been sitting on my bookshelf for quite a long time. I’m loving being able to take these books off the ‘unread books’ shelf. I’m sending most of them to the Little Free Library that is on the side of the road, not too far from our house. I’m trying not to be tempted to buy new releases until I’ve come close to clearing these books, but I know I will give in before too long.
Prompt #5 Chapters Have Titles
And Then Came Paulette by Barbara Constantine
This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for about a year. It came in a mystery box of 100 new fiction books that I purchased. Many of them I had never heard of and this book was one of them. I quite enjoy diving into a book that I haven’t heard of and know nothing about, and this book was no exception.
And Then Came Paulette is a lovely family story of love and loneliness. Living on the family farm, widower, Ferdinand is struggling with feelings of loneliness after his son moves away, with only a cat for company. He has more than enough room in his house for visitors, and when he hears of his neighbours struggles, he invites her to stay with him. There are many adjustments that both must make as they have both become used to their own company.
There are complications when one by one more new arrivals appear. Eventually the farm becomes a haven for lost souls, who all have a story to tell. Of course, things do get a little complicated.
I really enjoyed this lovely little book. It was a great study of the human condition and relationships.
Prompt #6 Household Object On The Cover
Baby It’s You by Joanne Tracey
I decided that a bucket was definitely a household object, so my blogger friend Jo’s debut novel seemed perfect for this prompt. I’ve had this book on my kindle for ages and somehow it keeps going down my pile. I’m not really a romance reader so I was a bit anxious that I wouldn’t enjoy it.
There was no reason at all to worry, as this non-romance reader, loved Baby It’s You. I loved the following description of this book:
“A vintage coat, a hot new co-worker, and a stranger’s bucket list – what could go wrong?
Emily Porter likes lists: daily to-do lists, shopping lists, playlists, reasons to dump her boyfriend lists,
reasons to stay with her boyfriend lists.
The one list Em doesn’t have is a bucket list. She doesn’t need one – her life is predictable and safe”.
I should have known that I would love Jo’s humorous way of writing. It’s the same humour that comes through her blog posts. However there is much more to this book than humour. On the surface Baby It’s You is funny and lighthearted, but it’s also a very indepth study of modern life, friendships, marriage, breakups and much more.
This book definitely packed a punch for me. It was one of those books that unexpectedly grabbed me with it’s fabulous characters, wonderful plot and really great writing. The renovation scenes had me wanting to pick up a paint brush and help out. I absolutely loved Baby It’s You and found it unputdownable. I read it on my kindle, which I usually don’t enjoy However, I’m trying to get myself used to it, so that I no longer have to deal with crowded bookshelves. I was so engrossed with the story that I totally forget I was reading it on the kindle. I have more of Jo’s books on my kindle which I’m very much looking forward to reading. Jo may have converted me to the romance genre with this novel.
Prompt #7 A Non-Fiction Best Seller #audiobook
A Promised Land by Barack Obama #audiobook
I don’t feel that I can say anything about this book that cleverer people than me haven’t said. A Promised Land is the first volume of Barack Obama’s presidential memoirs. We follow the former US president from when he was young and had no presidential aspirations at all, to deciding to run for office, winning the election and then on to life in the White House. I don’t feel I can write much at all about this book, so I’m just going to leave the following words from the blurb that I think say it all.
“A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective—the story of one man’s bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of “hope and change,” and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters, and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible.
This beautifully written and powerful book captures Barack Obama’s conviction that democracy is not a gift from on high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day.”
Claire left her career in Chicago to care for her grandmother who raised her after the death of her mother. At her grandmothers house, she finds a beautiful sculpture that her great grandfather had sent home from Paris at the end of World War 11. On her death bed, Claire’s grandmother urged her to travel to Paris to track down the artist who made the sculpture, named ‘The Unknown Woman’.
After her grandmother’s death, Claire makes the trip to Paris, and through a cache of letters which she tracked down, was able to build a picture of the life and secrets of the model who sat for the sculpture.
Historical fiction is my favourite genre, but I knew little about the world of art at this time. The history of art and especially sculpture was all new to me. I was really drawn into the mystery of The Unknown Woman, and also into the world of sculpture in Paris in the mid 20th century.
Prompt #9 A book That Sparks Joy
Women of The Way: Embracing The Camino by Jean V. Blanchard
When I read that the ninth prompt was “book that sparks joy,” I knew immediately that Women of the Way would be my book of choice. The word I always associate with this book is Joy. I had read it twice previously, but didn’t mind at all, reading it again. I first read it before walking the Camino de Santiago in 2014, with the second read being shortly after my return home. This book has stayed with me as I have found it to be extremely special and joyful.
Everything you would ever want to know about the Camino is in this book, as it is really about author’s pilgrimage walk, from preparation through to the end at Santiago. There is much detailed information of what to expect, but there is also much more than that. How this book differs from the usual type of guide book, is that it’s also about the people who are walking the Camino. Jean Blanchard interviewed female pilgrims along the way and asked them questions about their lives, why they were walking, and what they hoped to gain from the experience. Every time I read this book, I wish that I had been walking at the same time as the author, and she had asked me her questions. Only someone who has walked the Camino would ask the questions that are asked in this book.
From the blurb:
“— Discover why people from around the world walk the Camino.
— Learn how to prepare for the Camino, about the daily rituals in long-distance walking, and the camaraderie shared among these modern-day pilgrims.
— Visualize the beauty of northern Spain through Jane’s vivid descriptions.
— Understand why so many people embrace the Camino.”
I don’t think I will ever tire of this book. I’m aware that my experience of being a pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago probably colours my opinion, as it brings back so many memories for me. Every time I read Women of The Way, I remember something that I haven’t thought of since my Camino was completed. I loved meeting the women along the way, in the book, and hearing about why they were walking and their hopes for the future, when their Camino was over.
I’ve read more books than just the book challenge books but will post separately about the others. I really didn’t want to bore you with an overly long post.
According to Goodreads I have read 22/100 books, and I’m 10 books ahead of schedule. Lately, I’ve spent many hours reading in the middle of the night, when I should be sleeping, which is why I’m ahead. I’m hoping to reach my goal of 100 books, but at the end of the year, I tend to take more notice of the number of pages read. If you’re on Goodreads, I’d love you to be friends with me, as I really enjoy seeing what my friends are reading. As I don’t usually read the back cover of a book, I tend to use my friends recommendations when choosing my next book. Here’s my profile
I was surprised at some of the books that appeared on the following banned book list. I’ve marked those that I’ve read. How many have you read? What have you been reading lately? I’d love to hear if you have a suggestion for me to add to my tbr pile. I promise to reply to all comments left.
This post is linked to the monthly #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge linkup hosted by bloggers Deb,Sue, Donna, and Jo. Click on the previous links to check out what they’ve been reading. I’ve also linked up to Denyse’s Monday linkup #lifethisweek
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