Sunday, July 31, 2016

Reading Through the Decades of my Life

Reading Through the Decades of My Life
By Laura Lanik

In the first decade of my life I was a reluctant reader.  In fact, I hated reading and was in the lowest reading group by the time I was 10 years old.  Reading was the last thing I wanted to do for fun.  Yet I come from a long line of readers in my family and so every week we trucked to the local library and I checked out my limit in books.  I carried home a big stack and they sat in the corner until they were due back, two weeks later.   I never read any of them.  I watched my mother, father and grandparents devour books. I knew they were important but I just couldn’t figure out why.

When I was a teenager I discovered the allure of Romance novels.  I read Danielle Steel and Lavyrle Spencer and the Sunfire Teen Historical romances.  In fact, I still have my Sunfire romances, and Lavyrle Spencer books on my shelf.  The only books I read in high school were in 10th grade and thanks to my English teacher, Ms. Martinson.  (by the way, I was still in the lower track for readers).  These romance novels changed my outlook on reading and made me into the voracious reader I am today.  

In my twenties and in college, I decided I loved the History in historical romances more than the romance aspect and decided on History as my major and I made a plan to teach high school social studies. I pretty much pushed the romance novel out of the way and discovered non-fiction, literary fiction and Russian Literature.  In college is where I first encountered Toni Morrison, George Orwell, Alexander Pushkin, Gogol and Zamyatin and so many others.  My Twenties marked my awakening into the broad world of literature and history and I was in love with the world and books.

In my thirties, I became a mother and was teaching world history full time in an inner city high school.  My reading time was limited to what I could read hiding in the bathroom or the ten minutes in my car before school started or if I was lucky, twenty minutes before I fell asleep at night.  I squeezed in books and reading whenever I could. I joined my first book club and I set a goal to read one adult book a month and this was ambitious. Mainly I read children’s books to my kids and the World Literature that my teen students were reading. I read anything that could enhance my teaching practice and teach me about people and culture. Therefore, I read a lot of Magic Tree House books, The Hiccup Series by Cressida Cowell, which I loved to read aloud to my son, The Wizard of Oz., The Odyssey, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achibe, The Handmaid’s Tale by Atwood, Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks, and so much more.  

Now I’m in my forties, life is crazy busy and I’m still reading a lot of books.  My children are teenagers and I’ve been teaching World history for 20 years. I also teach two electives and a college class for future educators.  My reading has branched out.  My true loves are historical fiction, world literature and Nonfiction but I’ve found a place in my heart and time in my day to read poetry, short stories, memoirs, essays and listen to audio books and literary podcasts.  I read a poem every morning when I wake up and before I go to sleep at night.  It is such a great way to begin and end my day.

Looking back on my decades of reading, I’ve learned so much about who I was and who I’ve become.  My next decade will bring new reading and literary adventures and I’m excited to learn how my reading habits and book choices will change.  Bring it on.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Wintering by Peter Geye

Wintering by Peter Geye

We are all connected.  Everything is connected and this is evident as you read and piece together the lives of the characters in Wintering.

Wintering starts with the disappearance of Harry into the Northwoods of Gunflint, Minnesota. He has a degenerative disease and while search parties are sent out, his son Ode knows, Harry won't be found.  The disappearance prompts his son to tell Harry's sweetheart, Berit, the true story of what happened to them in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, one winter, 30 years ago.

The great love of Harry's life, Berit, and his son, Ode, alternately tell the story of Wintering, as they go back and forth in time to tell the history of a life and their connection to Harry's love and the land where they live.

Berit fell in love with Harry the first day she saw him, back when she was a teenager, but Harry married someone else.  When Harry found out his wife was cheating on him he planned a winter trip into the woods with his son,Ode, who had recently became an adult. They left in two canoes and set off to follow in the footsteps of the old voyagers and maybe to winter in one of their camps before the November snow.  What they found and what found them is a thrilling part of the story and you, dear reader, are going to be turning the pages really fast to find out what happens.

Geye is an excellent storyteller and he has created a cast of characters that will live in your heart and stay with you for a long time.  Wintering is the story of a family, full of secrets, denial, love, hatred, mischief.  Wintering is a story of surviving. Surviving, the extremes of life in a landscape that is covered in snow for 9 months of the year and the trails and tribulations of life.

Peter Geye is one of my favorite authors.  Wintering is his 3rd book and all three take place in Northern Minnesota.  Wintering can be read as a stand alone book or in conjunction with The Lighthouse Road. The Lighthouse Road tells the story of Harry's grandmother and it is where the reader is introduced to the characters who live in the town of Gunfight.  His books are always atmospheric and the location, in the North woods of Minnesota, is a great character.

If you are looking for a hot read to keep you cool this summer.  Wintering is it!

Monday, July 25, 2016

High Summer Read-a-Thon Wrap-Up post

High Summer Read-A-Thon Wrap-Up post

My reading week was great although I had a few distractions, the main one was my 2007 Silver Bullet, Audi died and suffered engine damage and I took a big loss of 4000 dollars and it was rough.  I cried more than once about it.  So I had to do lots of research, talk to lots of people, fill out multiple loan applications to purchase a vehicle by the end of the week.  I'm still not super happy about the situation I was stuck in but I found a new vehicle.  I also am pretty happy with my reading progress during the High Summer readathon and the 24in48 readathon.  So while I didn't get to read as much as I planned, I still did pretty good.

So here is my reading totals.

I finished 3 books.

1. Love Flute by Paul Goble  ( a wonderful children't book)
2. Wintering by Peter Geye ( a great work of fiction)
3. American Widow by Alissa Torres ( a graphic memoir)

I read several pages from 3 other books.

1. I read a short story every day from The Red Convertible by Louse Erdrich.
7 short stories = 78 pages

2.  I read 5 chapters in Don Quixote.  Pages 642-677 or about 35 pages.

3.  I started A Wolf at Twilight by Kent Newburn on Saturday and finished 237 pages.  This book is so good.  I'm sure I will finish it today.

How was your week?  How many books did you finish??

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Love Letter to Don Quixote

I am participating in the High Summer Read-a-Thon and decided to take on a challenge to write. a letter to a character from one of the books I am reading during the read-a-thon. So I have chosen to write to Don Quixote because I have been reading this Big chunky book since the beginning of June. So here goes...

Dear Don Quixote of La Mancha,
Also known as the Knight of the Sorrowful Face,
Also known as the Knight of the Lions,

I have admired you from afar for years and have only recently decided to take my fate into my own hands and declare my love for you.  

You, mad, bumbling fool, that you are, have stolen my heart with your chivalrous ways and your love of books.  These books that you love, dried up your brain and made you mad and set you off of on your journey of knight errantry.  Your crazy acts of chivalry made me notice you and fall in love with you even though you have pledged your heart to the peasant girl, Dulcinea of Toboso, who enchants you with her wicked looks.  Oh, how I wish you would notice me, for it is I, who holds you, in the palm of my hands and makes your story come alive.  

I’m not sure if you know this, Don Quixote, but the Spanish world adores you.  I have visited statues erected in your honor.  Even I, have a Starbucks mug that contains your likeness, on which I ponder our future together, over a strong mug of tea.

I want adventure, my dear Don Quixote, and I want to save babies, and right, wrongs and help those in need like you do.  If it so pleases you my lord, may I follow you through Spain as you protect the unfortunate?  Or can I dare hope to replace Dulcinea of Toboso in your heart and as your enchantress?

Send me your answer forthwith or as fast as your skinny nag, Rocinante can carry.

I anxiously await your loving reply,

Your ladyship and faithful reader,

Laura of Booksnob

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

In Reach Giveaway Winners!

In Reach Giveaway Winners!

Pamela Carter Joern was the Minnesota Author in the Spotlight on Booksnob for the month of May.  She is giving away two copies of her book of fabulous short stories called In Reach.  I love short stories and I try to read at least one a week. This collection will knock your socks and make you fall in love with the characters from Reach, Nebraska.

And the winners are:

Anne B from New Mexico
Haley S from Iowa

Congrats Ladies!!

Enjoy your new book.

I hope you all will get a chance to read this book.  Here is an excerpt from my review.

Pamela is a great writer and masterful storyteller and she draws the reader into her stories with finesse. Each story is unique and rooted in reality of human life and filled with compassion.  Some were heartbreaking while others made me smile and laugh.  Each one is just so good, its hard to pick my favorites. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Seasons of Reading High Summer Read-a-thon

Hi Everyone,

I have had a super busy summer, visiting Spain, Morocco, South Dakota and Montana.  I am home now and really looking forward to sitting on my deck and reading some good books before I have to go back to school.  I'm excited to participate for my 5th or maybe 6th read-a-thon with Michelle, The True Book Addict.

Here are my goals for the read-a-thon:

1.  Read Wintering by Peter Geye
2.  Continue and hopefully finish reading Don Quixote by Cervantes (I have 300 pages left)
3.  Read one short story a day from The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich
4.  Read a graphic novel ( I haven't picked it out yet)
5.  Start: A Wolf at Twilight by Kent Nerburn

Thursday, July 7, 2016

In Reach by Pamela Carter Joern

In Reach by Pamela Carter Joern

From Pamela Carter Joern comes a book of short stories that focuses on characters who live in the small town of Reach, Nebraska.  Inside of, In Reach, you will find 14 short stories of varied length, all of which contain wonderfully imagined characters who feel like your next door neighbors.

How you read a short story collection varies from book to book and person to person.  I personally love to read short stories in between novels and I like to read at least one short story a week.  With Joern's collection, I read one story a day.  I just wanted to immerse myself in this little town and get to know its residents.

Pamela is a great writer and masterful storyteller and she draws the reader into her stories with finesse. Each story is unique and rooted in reality of human life and filled with compassion.  Some were heartbreaking while others made me smile and laugh.  Each one is just so good, its hard to pick my favorites.  I adored the story, All the Wildness in Her (great title) of a widowed couple who sneak out of town to enjoy each other's company and steal kisses.  I loved the story, Redeeming the Time Being about a mother and daughter grieving the death of a spouse/parent that takes place in Seville, Spain ( I have visited here recently) and I loved the story, The Sky is Falling about Ella who has just been saved at a revival meeting and how her husband Buck handles her new found religion.  Oh my, all the stories are just so, so good.  You need to read it for yourself.

Pamela Carter Joern is not a well known author but she should be.  You should remember her name.  She is a really talented writer and super creative.  Her stories leap off the page with realism, honesty and grit.  I can't wait to read more of her books and stories and maybe even visit Nebraska someday (since it's pretty close to Minnesota).

In Reach was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award in 2015. Pamela has won the Nebraska Book Award for her book, The Floor of the Sky (which I also read and it was awesome).

If you liked Olive Kitteridge you will love In Reach by Pamela Carter Joern.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Wintering by Peter Geye Giveaway

Wintering by Peter Geye Giveaway

Peter Geye is the June/July Author of the month here on Booksnob and he has a wonderful new book called Wintering.  I have read all his books and loved them dearly.  I can't wait to read Wintering and you have a chance to win one hardcover copy.  I am willing to send it to followers who live in the United States or Canada.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

An exceptional and acclaimed writer's third novel, far and away his most masterful book yet.

There are two stories in play here, bound together when the elderly, demented Harry Eide escapes his sickbed and vanishes into the forbidding northernmost Minnesota wilderness that surrounds the town of Gunflint—instantly changing the Eide family, and many other lives, forever. He’d done this once before, thirty-some years earlier, in 1963, fleeing a crumbling marriage and bringing along Gustav, his eighteen-year-old son, pitching this audacious, potentially fatal scheme to him—winter already coming on, in these woods, on these waters—as a reenactment of the ancient voyageurs’ journeys of discovery. It’s certainly a journey Gus has never forgotten. Now—with his father pronounced dead—he relates its every detail to Berit Lovig, who’d waited nearly thirty years for Harry, her passionate conviction finally fulfilled for the last two decades. So, a middle-aged man rectifying his personal history, an aging lady wrestling with her own, and with the entire history of Gunflint.

Giveaway rules:
Fill out the form
Must be from U.S./Canada resident
Follower of BookSnob
Contest ends:  August 14th at midnight
Good Luck!!

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