Friday Face-Off: Belated Clergy

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Time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.  This week’s theme (snakes) isn’t really speaking to me, so I decided to belatedly pick up the theme from a couple of weeks ago.

And that theme was: ‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.’ – A cover featuring a monk/priest/person of the cloth

The most obvious choice is the Father Brown series by G. K. Chesterton–even if I liked the TV show better!

This certainly gets right to the point!  No mistaking who the hero of this book is.

I like this foreign edition a lot–that’s about how I’d expect Father Brown to look (the smaller bespectacled man) and I assume the other man is his sometimes friend, sometimes adversary Flambeau, who features heavily in this collection.

I like this simpler cover best–it captured the iconic hat, spectacles and umbrella of Father Brown, looks rather elegant and understated, and has just a hint of humor with the umbrella hooked into the “of.”

No one appears to have done a TV tie-in cover… 🙂

Reading Challenge Update: L. M. Montgomery Reading

I think we all know I’m very, very much a fan of L. M. Montgomery, so I think we all knew I was going to enjoy this January challenge!  Even so, I think it exceeded my expectations.  Hosted by Reading to Know, the challenge is simply to read Montgomery books, or ones about her, in January.  I read three books and a bit for this one.

1) First, the bit–in my ongoing reading of Montgomery’s journals, I finished Volume II and started Volume III.  Count that how you will!

2) I finally read Through Lover’s Lane by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly, which has been on my shelf for a long time.  Even though I didn’t love the book, it had some interesting insights and I’m happy I finally read it.

3) I reread The Story Girl by L. M. Montgomery, and was pleasantly surprised to find I liked it better than I had on previous reads.  In another “bit,” I started the sequel, The Golden Road, but haven’t finished it yet.

4) I also reread Magic Island by Elizabeth Waterston, very probably my favorite book about Montgomery.  It goes through each of her novels, analyzing what factors in her life, either in the past or at the time of writing, influenced the novel.  I didn’t get to a review of it, but maybe soon.

And so wraps my shortest challenge!  Time to get onto my other challenges…and I’ll post another update in a couple months.  In the meantime, happy reading!

Friday Face-Off: The Amulet of a Thief

FFO.jpgTime again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: A cover featuring an Amulet

The first book to come to mind was The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner.  I read this one as a kid and it’s still a favorite, and a special token features as a major part of the story.  I’m not positive it’s an amulet, but one cover shows it that way, so…we’re going with it.

As an aside, I didn’t realize until some years after I first read it that this was the first book in a series.  I really, really tried to like the second book–I read it twice–and it just didn’t work for me.  The first book, however, I love.

This cover was on the copy I read at the library all those years ago, so I’m sentimentally attached to it…although when I really look at it, it doesn’t fit at all!  If this is the lead character I can’t explain the crown; if it’s the character who might wear a crown, he’s too old!

I like the comparative drama of this one, although it’s a little cartoony for me–and something is weird about the angles.

Here’s the promised amulet!  I like this one a lot, especially the dirt on those hands.  It promises that the person those hands belong to is getting down into the dirt of life, that stealing this amulet is no easy job (and it’s not!)

This foreign cover is my favorite–very similar to the previous one, I like the hint of the secret temple, the amulet looks a bit more how I’d picture it, and it’s just more dramatic and dangerous!

Friday Face-Off: Good Queen Bess

Time for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: ‘I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king’ – A cover that depicts a novel set in the Tudor period

The first novel that came to mind seemed fitting, since it’s about Elizabeth I, the source for this week’s quote: Legacy by Susan Kay, about the life of Elizabeth I.  This author is better known (I think) for her Phantom novel, referred to always as Susan Kay’s Phantom, and one my absolute favorite books.  I mean, we’re talking top 5 here.  Legacy, though in some ways similar (a sweeping exploration of one person’s life, through the points of view of different people surrounding them) is…well, not an absolute favorite.  Too much politicking!  But still a good read, with a few different covers. Continue reading “Friday Face-Off: Good Queen Bess”

2019 Reading Challenges

Now that I finished my 2018 challenges update, and my reading round-up, I’m finally ready to be thinking about what I want to read in 2019.  I’m going a little gentler on the number goals, and trying to both play to the strengths of where my reading seems to have gone, and get back to a few areas I realized I missed!

Nonfiction Reading Challenge
Host: Doing Dewey
Goal: 12 Nonfiction Books

This one is playing to my strengths, because I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction in recent months.  (And may I just say as an aside that teenage me, who read nothing but fiction, would be shocked by this?  But she was stuck reading a lot of nonfiction she didn’t like for school, so…)  I expect this to be largely comprised of spiritual books, since that’s still my primary focus in my nonfiction–but I am rather tempted by the suggestion to read a book from each century of the Dewey Decimal system.  We’ll see how the year goes! Continue reading “2019 Reading Challenges”

2018 Reading Round-Up

It’s that time of year again–or actually, a few days past.  Time to look at the best, the worst and sometimes weird of my 2018 reading.  In this past year I read 101 books.  I know that’s a lot when the average is more like 12, but it’s also a big drop for me–I’m usually somewhere approaching 200.  I blame this fully on getting married, and you know, seeing as there are also compensations to that, I can’t complain too much.  But I do hope to bring that number up next year–barring other major life changes, of course!

In that 101 books, there were a lot of nonfiction ones, a lot of audiobooks, and a lot of Newbery Medal winners.  So it’s been kind of a departure of a year in a lot of ways!  But there were still good books in there, so let’s see how it looks.

1) Best of…
I’ve been splitting my “Best of” books for the past few years, so that I can highlight the ones that were best in very specific ways.

1A) Best Premise: The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – This was an amazing short story collection from a variety of authors (including Stephen King and Neil Gaimain!) with original Holmes and Watson stories…which may or may not be fantastical.  I have seen authors mostly fail to accurately portray Sherlock Holmes, so it was an especial delight to find a whole collection of authors who (for the most part) got it right, and the fantasy element was an extra awesome element.

1B) Best World Building: Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore – This was the most beautifully crafted book I read this year, so I’m calling that world building.  A series of alternate paths for the main character, each with its own genre, each independent and yet consistent and building on each other…this was a gorgeously crafted book.

1C) Best Romance: I find myself with a very strange dearth of options for this category this year!  I think this is what happens when you read a lot of Newbery Medal winners and nonfiction books.  I’m going to have to set a goal to read more romances in 2019, I think.

1D) Best Hero(ines): The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss – I’m giving this one to a group, the amazing women of the Athena Club, each one a product of a mad scientist’s experiment, banding together to forge their own lives and fight evil in the process.  This one could have taken best premise too, but we’ll put it here for its awesome heroines. Continue reading “2018 Reading Round-Up”

2018 Goals – Year-End Update

It’s been a strange year for goals–so maybe it’s fitting I’m running a day or two late from normal on this report!  I mixed together life goals and reading challenges this year, so the updates have been a little varied from usual.  And the timing has been a little strange all through.

Getting married was my biggest goal this year, accomplished on May 12th.  I put a lot of focus on the Newbery Medal reading challenge, and completed that at the end of August, so I already reported on that in my last update.

My second reading challenge was (for the third year in a row) to try to read more books with minority hero(ines).  Well, I’m still getting used to reading while married (totally different daily routine!) and I frankly didn’t think about this goal in the last three months.  So, not surprisingly, I’m sneaking in one fantasy re-read but otherwise, no progress here.  With the usual rather sad observation that it’s not easy to stumble accidentally into minority-led books–which says rather a lot.

  1. North of Happy by Adi Alsaid (Mexican)
  2. Amos Fortune: Free Man by Elizabeth Yates (African-American)
  3. Gay-Neck: The Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji (Indian)
  4. Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska (Spanish)
  5. Waterless Mountain by Laura Adams Armer (Navajo)
  6. Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly (Japanese and Filipino)
  7. Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark (Incan)
  8. Street Magic by Tamora Pierce (vaguely Arab, in a fantasy world)

On writing goals, I wanted to write three short stories, which I finished by September.  On my last update I was still working on the first book of my Phantom trilogy.  I’m very happy to report that’s completed–at least barring any tweaks required based on revising the later books.  But that should be minor at most!

I also intended to get the second installment of the trilogy to beta-readers by the end of the year.  Well, it’s January 2nd and I’m still working on it.  But the end is actually in sight, and I’m hoping to get it off by mid-January, so only about two weeks behind the original goal.  And honestly, that’s better than I expected most of the time, so we’ll call that good!

So, not quite a perfect score on reaching all my goals–but I had more ambitious, more complicated goals than usual, and 2018 was one of the most life-altering years I’ve ever had–so I’m going to feel good about how it all turned out.

Did you have reading or other goals for the year?  How did they turn out for you?