Saturday, January 6, 2018

It's a Good Weekend for Reading

I don't know how people live in the Arctic. We have a week of extreme weather and I have been whining like a baby every day. :) But I will say it's certainly gives you lots of reading time.
And reading takes you on so many adventures, doesn't it?
I have a pile of books like this next to my nightstand.
I first typed my little blurb on the page, then I sprayed a little ink. The stack of books was doodled, cut out and after being glued, I painted the bindings. The 2 owls are stamped, colored and then cut out and added. I doodled the lamp and the glasses.
I am linking up to the latest challenge at Art Journal Journey, New Year, New Adventure.
This year I hope to read 60 books. I might be reaching a bit.
Last year, in 2017,  I hoped to read 40 books because in 2016 I only read 36. 2016 just wasn't a big reading year for me. 
So I thought 40 was a respectable goal.
But I well surpassed that. I read or listened to 72 books.
I actually began 74 books, but 2 of them I didn't like at all, and they went into the book recycle bin before I finished them. I joined Audible this past fall because I now have a car that has bluetooth so I can listen to books during my drive to and from work. That fact brought my number up also.
So what were some of my 2017 favorites?
In the fiction category: 
 This is a clever story that read like Dickens and really gave a picturesque view of Victorian London.
 I read a few these Tony Hillerman mysteries last year. I really like them. They are set in the 4 Corners Region of the US, and have some Navajo police protagonists. 

 And thank you Divers and Sundry blog for this recommendation. I still need to wrap up this series but it's on my 2018 list.
I'd read at least one book by Ann Patchett before, but this one had me thinking and and quite surprised a few times.
 And how could you not like the character Ove in Frederick Backman's book A Man Called Ove?
 And the People of the Songtrail was a random find but a very different story for me. It's part of a whole series of books (but I don't think they are connected) written about pre-Columbian Americans. This one deal with the Coastal people in Eastern Canada when they encounter the Vikings.   I really enjoyed it and plan to read some more of these books.

And a couple of books about Plants:
A slightly different history of the US's founding fathers. It inspired me to read Botany of  Desire too, which is an interesting book about the history of apples, tulips, marijuana, and potato.
 And Hope Jahren , author of Lab Girl, is one amazing woman. This book tells the story of this botanist's life as a scientist. It was enjoyable, a fast read and made me laugh too.
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography
New York Times 2016 Notable Book
National Best Seller
Named one of TIME magazine’s "100 Most Influential People"
An Amazon Top 20 Best Book of 2016
Washington Post Best Memoir of 2016
TIME and Entertainment Weekly Best Book of 2016 
 If you haven't checked her out, you should. This book was really an enjoyable read (and not stuffy science at all). We even read it in my book club at my suggestion and my English teacher friends actually liked it too.

And Arty Books:
 The movie was fantastic, the book is even better. 
 And 2 books about Van Gogh. One a biography about the 2 Van Gogh brothers and the other about the famous ear incident.
Deborah Helligman (above) also wrote another great biography about Charles Darwin and his life with his wife Emma Wedgewood Darwin, which was also a wonderful relationship book.
And Ms Gilbert really has some inspiring ideas about creativity. 
And thanks to Valerie for mentioning this book.
 And I liked it so much I picked up this book by the same author.

And finally, some NonFiction:
Some Central American archeology with armed insurgents, a deep jungle full of snakes and wild animals, and some fantastic finds. And I discovered this author.
I liked Douglas Preston so much I read a few other books by him, and I particular liked this one also.
In this one he and his family ride through the 4 Corners Region of the US  following the Navajo creation story. 
 And this next book is not as good as My Life in France, but anything regarding Julia Child works for me.

 And the book Hidden Figures was even better than the movie.  
 I had lots of laughs and smiles with this book by Gerald Durrell. Now I need to read the next 2 in the sries.
 This was one of my book club choices. It was sad, but a good story. It opened my eyes to the Khmer Rouge and their horrible regime.
And probably my most memorable book, and one I bought as an Audible daily deal because it had so many 5 star reviews on Amazon is this story. I've managed to find some and unusual reads for me in the Audible Daily Deal. This one was hard to turn off.
It was an amazing novel of a true story. It had me yelling out comments in response to events in the story. It's a war story, which is not usually my thing, but I highly recommend this as a read.

So this is just a sampling (obviously) of the 72 books I read. I also read a little Michael Crichton, all 4 books of the Neapolitan books by Elena Ferrante, a book about a hermit in Maine, a couple of books about Matisse, a few other science theme books, a little fantasy about painters in Paris, some books about the Cosmos, a Russian count, some Victorian mysteries and some cozy mysteries too, just to mention a little more. I hope this upcoming year can be even half as adventurous.
Stay warm my friends.


Divers and Sundry said...

Thanks for the mention :) Hillerman, May, and Patchett can't be beat! Founding Gardeners sounds like an interesting view of the founders. I'd think it might make them more approachable than some of the history books (and even biographies) I've read. It's been so long since I read anything by Gerald Durrell I had kind of forgotten about him. I remember him fondly, though... I should pick him back up.

I'm not doing any formal challenges this year, but I will be reading :) I look forward to hearing about your year in books as time passes. I'm not in a book club, so I count on bloggers and Facebook to help me find books. I've tried Goodreads without much luck.

It's warming up some here, but the water in the birdbaths is still frozen. Brrrrr!

Valerie-Jael said...

Love your reading journal page, great idea. Reading has always been my number one. I had lots of time these past weeks and have read 14 books since Christmas. Have fun with your reading list. Hugs, Valerie

froebelsternchen Susi said...

I love your wonderful page - yes reading is adventure in the head!
So lovely made Erika . With the little lamp and the two owls!
Oh gosh you are really an avid reader -
I nearly just hear audio books on youtube - whilst crafting or when I cook -
but in 2017 I purchased 15 real books also that I really all got read through this year( Tataaa)They are from our local charity shop for just 1 or 2 Euros.Some of them I can use as Altered Book Journals as they have great paper in. And the most of them were good - I read more nonfiction - and oh I have one of Sandra Duran Wilson and Olivia McElroys books here in German as well - the first one I guess about surface treatment ( but not from the charity -lol) and I just now read the lovely "Big Magic" book from Elizabeth Gilbert in German as well...that's just super for creative people, isn't it?
I found some great Art technique books for free at online -
My days are much too short for all I want to do..... and I am at home ... call me a retired girl ....but no time!!!
But I always think that what I want to do I find or steal time for---yes!
Thank you for so many inspirational pages for AJJ! You ROCK again! I have to get off to a flying start now - otherwise the month is over .... but so many things to do just now here... they still have no school and we had a lot of guests and invitations...boah!
Life - it's nice but sometimes too busy for an old girl!


Caty said...

Love love love your montain of books Erika !!! I like reading very much too. Those books may be so interesting.
I like your page very much, it ´s so wonderful, love the owls, and the quote is so cute ! I´m sure you ´ll read more than 40 books this year !! I wish you a very happy weekend, big hugs

crafty creations said...

Hi Erika and thanks for visiting my blog

Your page is a wonderful work of art - love the stack of books, the colours you have used and well all of it!!!!!!

I too am an avid reader I love art books and have quite a few. I also read Baldacci, Patterson and Vincenzi - in audio I like the English Classics I find them so relaxing and loan them from the local library.

Have a great weekend

Meggymay said...

First of all its a fabulous page Erika and super words you added.
I love books. I can relate to the pile you shared with us today. I've never thought about how many I read over the year, maybe that is something I will get to recording in the future.
Yvonne xx

peppylady (Dora) said...

Hello from Idaho and stop in from Blogoratti. That's alot of reading. If you fine the time stop in for a cup of coffee

CJ Kennedy said...

I need to read more. I baked today. Kept the house warm and smelling heavenly. Stay warm

Carola Bartz said...

This is the second "what I read in 2017" post I read today and I'm also planning to write my own. It's so interesting to see how different they all are. After having read your post I got "Beneath a Scarlet Sky" for my Kindle and put the "Lab Girl" and "Talking to the Ground" on my wish list. Thank you for all these great recommendations!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I got to see the Lab Girl on the Science Guy show once. She is really amazing. I enjoyed your reading list, and loved the Hidden Figures which you recommended. I didn't see the movie, but the book was fabulous. I remembered your review of the City of the Monkey God and want to read those two art books you bought. Wish we lived closer so I could borrow them for a weekend!

Of course, I simply adore your latest Art Journal Journey entry and it seems to be true how you really LOVE to read! Thanks for sharing your books and your journal page with us at Art Journal Journey. I'm a slow reader and only read real books, not those on tape. Wish I had that capability, though.

Rita said...

I love the selection of books you described here...all good ones. A few I have seen the movies but not read the books and I know the books are usually even better.

Stay warm! Thank goodness for books--or in my case these days, movies and series. :)

Astrid Maclean said...

That is one lovely page Erika, very creative! And wow, you certainly managed to get through a lot of books, and thanks so much for the interesting digest of them! As the daughter and wife of publishers, my whole life has been surrounded by books.... I don't think I have every managed to read as many as that in one year though, - but since retiring at the end of the school year (I was a teacher too), - I am hoping to become a more avid reader again and shall add several of the ones you mention to my list.

Finally, thanks so much for your visit to my blog, and as to your question about bullet journaling, - there is of course no finite time as to how long it takes to set up a page. The beauty about bullet journaling is, you can make it as complex or simple as you wish. I decided to use mine as a daily drawing practice journal as well, and some of the pages do take quite a while, but it does get a lot faster with practice and so far I absolutely love it. (Been doing it since October).

Jeanie said...

This is a fabulous post -- and I have to tell you, my to-read list really grew! Especially any of the ones related to art (Van Gogh, Klimt); the Durrell because I adore the series and Julia because I adore her; "Ove" has been on my list for ages and Ann Patchett is -- well, Ann Patchett. "Bel Canto" was one of my all time favorites and so was last year's "The Magician's Assistant." I saw the film based on the Dickens book and loved it so reading the book would be a treat to see how it adapted.

And this winter is SERIOUS reading time! At least, so far! Enjoy every page!

pearshapedcrafting said...

First of all I really love your has taken ages to move on because I have had to write some of these books down! I am struggling with a Sharon Penman book - The Sunne in Splendour about the Wars of the Roses - I don't want to give up on it but I'm not concentrating well on it! Hugs,Chrisx

Let's Art Journal said...

I love your page! The owls are perfect with all those books and I enjoyed seeing your new typewriter being used to create a page too - what fun 😁. Wow, you read and listened to a lot of books in 2017, now I'm wondering what you goal is for 2018? Thanks for all the book recommendations and wishing you a great new week! J 😊

sheila 77 said...

I just love your owly-book art page.
I always enjoy seeing what you are reading and this was a fascinating set of books full of variety. As ever I have no idea at all how you cram so many activities into your life, any hints?