Books and Reading


Oh where oh where have I been??


After a rather long break from reading I am finally back at it. If you have followed my blog for any time, you might recall that I was in a somewhat state of despair because, after a lifetime love affair of reading, I was suddenly unable to focus on a book. I lamented how frustrated I felt and many of you offered encouragement and support that it was a phase and would pass.  You were so right!

Not much of anything is accomplished these days with my nose stuck in a book!! I felt it only fair to share a few of the titles that have kept me so busy and away from my blog. Not being a book reviewer, it is with reluctance I offer my opinions… but here goes!

I first started out listening to a few books through Amazon Audible. My first try was a huge success with A Man Called Ove by Swedish author, Fredrick Backman. This is the story of a cantankerous old man and his life after the death of his wife. He has his own peculiar biases and opinions which are challenged in a humorous and engaging way. This was an absolutely wonderful book and the narrator was a perfect match.

On a roll now, I moved on to a tender story of two sister separated during the Berlin Blitz of World War II. Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner was touching, thoughtful, and held my interest throughout. Great book!. I am currently listening to another of her books  A Fall of Marigolds. This is an interesting story of a nurse working on Ellis Island in 1911. The history of the time period is quite fascinating but now I am now only listening to audio books while I am at the gym (and sadly this is not often enough to keep me motivated in the story).


Encouraged, I began to haunt the public library for new titles and authors. What a surprise to find new titles can be found through their online search catalogue. Links provide reviews from the editor and actual readers which certainly helps in the selection process. Books can even be reserved online! A text message is sent when the book is available so I simply walk into the library to find my requests waiting for me. Books can be renewed online after I receive a text alert that the due date is approaching! How convenient is that???

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton is a marvelous read! It is the story encompassing three generations from Australia to England. This mystery and the lives of the women it chronicles will keep you turning pages well into the night!


Next, Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas caught my eye. I found this book on a Pintrest list of all places. Set in Colorado during the Great Depression, it is an lovely fictional history told by an 86 year old mountain woman. The story expands as she mentors a young woman new to the area. Watching the friendship develop is a reminder how special woman friends are in our lives. Do you also treasure your woman friends?


Our women’s Bible study is reading Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur. This book gives new insight to some of the Bible’s most interesting women such as Eve, Sarah, and Rahab. If you have any interest in learning more about some fascinating women during Biblical times, this is a great book.


Next was I Belong to No One by fellow blogger Gwen Wilson (garrulousgwendoline). She has written an intimate portrait of her younger life growing up in rural Australia during the 1970’s.  What courage she has shown by sharing her story with others. It was hard to wrap my head around the girl in the book with the Gwen I have come to know through our mutual blogs. I was deeply reminded that although we are influenced by our personal journeys, history, social prejudices, and mores,  it is what we do with those experiences that shape our future.  This book truly  shows that we have a choice to overcome obstacles at any point in our lives! Thank you for sharing your story, Gwen!


Currently I am reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova. This book gives an insight into the life of an Alzheimer’s victim and her family. You may be more familiar with the movie staring  Julianne Moore who, in 2015,  received an Academy Award as well as a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Alice. Since I had not seen this movie and was only aware of the subject matter, I was surprised to find how much I like this book. Had it not been loaned to me I may not have ever picked it up.



…this is what has been keeping me busy.

Do you have any recommendations for me?

27 thoughts on “Books and Reading

  1. I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy audio books either but I love them! The more I listen, the more of a fan I have become. I too am a book in the book in my hands kind of girl not even trying Kindle! Give it a try. Hugs to you, Nancy♡


  2. Hi Jan,
    I’ve been gone awhile, not able to visit or post, but so glad I visited. I’m going to make note of Prayers for Sale, and the books by Susan Meissner.
    I have a two hour drive each way most days on my way to work. Although I enjoy listening to my playlists, I am considering audio books and podcasts. I don’t know why I have been reluctant to try them. I guess I am old school, and want to be able to experience the story, to lose myself in it, late at night snuggled down in the covers. But I think maybe I will give this a try. xx Nancy

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  3. Thanks for your insight. Actually other than me, all my ladies are retired in our group. Isn’t it amazing how we seem to read the right book at the right time for God to reveal to us the lessons we need to learn, and if we had read a certain book earlier we would have missed it. His timing is perfect!

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  4. I agree. In fact, it was partly on account of those wonderful people that I started to write my story in the first place. I wanted to acknowledge how their support and influence grounded me, and enabled the woman I became. You can read more about that on my website . My book had so many working titles, including “tried poor, didn’t like it” :mrgreen: The ultimate title is drawn from the passage where I have given up Jason, and am estranged from my family and friends, and am lamenting “I belong to no one, no where.” Thanks for your support, and it is great for me to hear feedback from American readers. We are in Adelaide at the moment, where I lived for four years – so lots of catch ups with old friends, broken by a two day trip to Kangaroo Island on Monday. Xxxx

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  5. Thanks, Gwen! I passed my copy of your book on to my sister who also found it to be extremely interesting. Her comment: “I get that she belonged to no one, but in a way she belonged to so many people………” She’s giving it back to me and I’m passing it along to another friend who’s taking a writing class- learning to write her story. I thought this would be a great inspiration for her. Thanks for the nice words about my brother. Hopefully this time next week he will be back to work. Safe travels and big hugs!

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  6. I love the study personally but I will tell you that we do have a little bit of contention in our group in regards to the book. Our last study was a Beth Moore book on the study of David and the chapters were short. With these chapters much longer and more questions, some of the ladies find it to be a little difficult to stay current. It’s hard to say if the two books are just so different that they’re still adjusting or if you need a very dedicated group to put in the time it takes for this particular study. We tried breaking it into sections but the questions it didn’t always fit well. I noticed in my used copy she had circled specific questions so I’m thinking her study assigned specific questions to the chapter which might have been helpful. We will continue the study but will not come back to this style of a book again, I don’t think. Keep in mind we are a group of retired ladies so our circumstances might be much different than yours!! Good luck on your study. I really do like John MacArthur and think he did a fabulous job with this book. We all learn differently and who knows, without my renewed passion in reading I might have not have enjoyed this book a year ago!


  7. Also forgot to add our Woman’s group will also be doing 12 Extraordinary Women Bible Study in the fall. Looking forward to doing it – I will be leading it so a bit nervous! 🙂

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  8. I am so glad I am not the only one who took a break from books because of lack of concentration – I have been reading since dad took me for my first library card when I was 6 yrs old. I even remember my first book – “The Ghost in the Attic”!! I am finishing up “The Prize Winner from Defiance Ohio” We saw the movie and it was cute but of coarse the book is so much better. Great light summer read – if you do read it I hope you enjoy it. I also took note of your recommendations. You can never have enough books!! 🙂 God’s blessings to you!

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  9. Thank you so much Mommermom for reading and reviewing I Belong to No One, and your kind words. We are travelling again at the moment, so this has been my first chance to comment, but I wanted to say I was thrilled to see my work up there in such good company! Bolinda Audio are making it into an audio book, and also contracted me to narrate it. I finished in the recording studio just before we came away. That was another new and interesting experience. . . . Extremely glad to hear you have your brother with you.

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  10. I don’t know what you might like, but I really enjoyed these: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Currently I’m reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and it’s holding my interest.

    Happy Reading!

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  11. Yes, we are and it is a good thing, huh? 😊I do remember now you posted a list of books ( for some reason I thought it was Pauline but then maybe she did too) I am going to go back and check out your list. I can’t listen while I sew either. Music, yes, but often I just like the quiet. Occasionally we will listen on the road but as I age I am finding I like quiet! The crazy thing is our library will allow me to renew online up to 8 or so times- and I often have to take advantage of at least half of those! I was greatful that my brother reached out but he has not offered any information and I have not asked. Gratitude is my mantra right now. Always love hearing from you, Marlene. ♡

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  12. I am so happy to hear you are devouring books again in any form. I get a few chapters a night on my tablet and one while I had my frogen yozurt this afternoon read on my phone app. I used to listen on long drives in my car but don’t have long drives anymore. While sewing, I must concentrate on that and not a story. I posted a list of books a while back but we all have different likes where books are concerned. Once you start getting into stories again, the writing will start to flow naturally. I’m still only posting every few weeks. It’s been one of those odd years. Go with the flow. No pressure. Happy to hear your brother is back. Wish I would hear from mine. 😦 I know about the library loans but it takes me too long to get through a book so I just get them on sale at Book Bub when they have something I like. I buy their recommendations on Amazon. Summer is hard to get reading done. Hang in there, We are a patient lot. 🙂

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  13. That would be fun!! I have some girlfriends and they love to talk books. I have felt quite left out over the last year or so. We’re getting together in the fall so I’ll have much to talk to them about. I don’t use the e-reader although I am somewhat tech-savvy so I could. I have looked at the Over drive but have not yet figured it out. Perhaps you have inspired me to take a look! Thanks for the tip.

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  14. I have the same experience with music, sometimes I just can’t listen to music at all then suddenly it speaks directly to my soul again. Odd. The first time I missed not being able to enjoy and flow with the music – I felt quite bereft. Hope you are okay.

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  15. I have a long term guest staying in my work room too – it has curtailed my artistic efforts greatly. But as you say, the trade off is worth it. I’m glad to hear you have your brother back in the fold. Happy reading in the interim. xo

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  16. Holy moly girl, get over here! I’ll put on the coffee and we can talk books! I’ll be coming back to this post in search of my next read. Do you have an e-reader or are you strictly a “smell the pages” type of reader. Truth be told, I swing both ways. But the reason I ask is that I use the Overdrive Media app to access my public library. It is the coolest thing to be able to check out and download library books. In bed. At midnight. Without getting up. Just sayin’. Have a wonderful, book filled weekend!

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  17. Although it will be hot enough soon enough I do look forward to some sunshine. We’ve had quite a bit of gray weather. I’m trying to enjoy it while it’s here. I’ll be complaining soon enough! Nothing like a good book poolside…… Well unless cuddled up on the couch with up blanket over my lap and a good book!

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  18. Hi Pauline. It’s good to be back. I noticed you haven’t been blogging much recently either and its good to know that you’re okay. I seem to spend a lot of time catching up with my favorite bloggers but just couldn’t seem to settle down and complete a post of my own. I remember you had posted a list of books and I’m going to go back to check those out as well. I’m so happy to be reading and I don’t care anymore about the dust bunnies or whatever. I have even started a new sewing project that I am excited about but my (formerly missing) brother is staying in my sewing/guest room for a few weeks so that is on hold- but the trade of is worth it! He will be back to work in another week or so. It is just such a blessing to have him back in the fold! I will look forward to your next post. Sooooo good to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by.

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  19. Hello Jan – welcome back! I am so glad to hear you are reading – or listening – to some good books. I listen often when working in my studio and am still happily reading in bed every night before sleep. It does appear that we sometimes stop doing the very thing that has given an enormous amount of pleasure for many years – and then somehow find our way back into it again. It’s a mystery to me! But such a joy isn’t it to settle back down with some good stories 🙂 I appear to be on a bit of a blogging break at the moment – still checking in with my favourite bloggers, just not getting around to writing any posts. I guess this too will change when the time is right. Thanks for sharing these interesting titles – I’ve jotted down a couple to add to my expanding list.

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  20. Some wonderful books you have shared with us – some I’ve read and loved and others you’ve inspired me to read. I’m so happy that you have rekindled your love and peace with reading – it’s hard whe that disappears for a whille. Warmest wishes and happy reading. 😀😀

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